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THE    FROGS 

OF 

ARISTOPHANES 


THE  ATHENIAN  DRAMA 

FOR  ENGLISH  READERS 

A-  Series  of  Verse  Translations  of  the  Greek 

Dramatic  Poets,  with  Commentaries  and 

Explanatory  Notes. 

Crown  8vo,  cloth,  gilt  top,  7s.  6d.  each  net. 

Each  Volume  Illustrated  from  ancient 

Sculptures  and  Vase-Painting. 

AESCHYLUS  :  The  Orestean  Trilogy.  By  Prof. 
G.  C.  Warr.  With  an  Introduction  on  The 
Rise  of  Greek  Tragedy^  and  1 3  Illustrations. 

SOPHOCLES:  CEdipus  Tyrannus  and  Coloneus, 
and  Antigone.  By  Prof.  J.  S.  Phillimore. 
With  an  Introduction  on  Sophocles  and  his 
Treatment  of  Tragedy,  and  16  Illustrations. 

EURIPIDES:     Hippolytus  ;     Bacchae ;     Aristo- 
phanes^ *  Frogs.'      By  Prof.  Gilbert  Murray. 
With  an  Appendix  on  The  Lost  Tragedies  of 
Euripides f  and  an   Introduction  on  The  Signi- 
ficance of  the  Bacchae  in  Athenian  History^  and 
1 2  Illustrations.  \_Fifth  Edition. 


ALSO   UNIFORM   WITH   THE  ABOVE 

THE  HOMERIC  HYMNS.  A  New  Prose 
Rendering  by  Andrew  Lang,  with  Essays 
Critical  and  Explanatory,  and  14  Illustrations. 


THE  PLAYS  OF   EURIPIDES 

Translated    into    English    Rhyming    Verse,    with 
Explanatory  Notes,  by  Prof.  Gilbert  Murray. 


Hippolytus.    14th  Thousand. ' 
Bacchae.        loth  Thousand. 
The  Trojan  Women.    9th  Th. 
Electra.  1 1  th  Thousand. 

Medea.  8th  Thousand. 

Iphigenia  in  Tauris.  4th  Th. 
7  he  Frogs  of  Aristophanes. 

loth  Thousand. 
CEdipus  Tyrannus  of  Sophocles, 


Paper  Covers,  Impl. 
1 6 mo,  IS.  each  net. 


Also  crown  8vo, 
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each  net. 


THE    FROGS 


OF 


ARISTOPHANES 


TRANSLATED    INTO    ENGLISH    RHYMING    VERSE    BY 


GILBERT  MURRAY,  M.A.,  LL.D. 

EMERITUS    PROFESSOR    OF    GREEK    IN    THE    UNIVERSITY 
OF  GLASGOW  ;  FELLOW   OF   NEW  COLLEGE,    OXFORD 


LONDON 

GEORGE   ALLEN   &   COMPANY,   LTD. 

44   &   45    RATHBONE   PLACE 
1912 

[AU  rights  reserved] 


Printed  by  Ballantyne,  Hanson  tS^  Co. 
At  the  Ballantyne  Press,  Edinburgh 


THE    FROGS 
or 

ARISTOPHANES 


A 


329101 


CHARACTERS  OF  THE   PLAY 

The  God  Dionysus. 

Xanthias,  his  slave.. 

Aeschylus. 

Euripides. 

Heracles. 

Pluto. 

Charon. 

Abacus,  houst  porter  to  Pluto» 

A  Corpse. 

A  Maidservant  of  Persephone. 

A  Landlady  in  Hades. 

Plathane,  her  servant. 

A  Chorus  of  Frogs. 

A  Chorus  of  Initiated  Persons. 

Attendants  at  a  Funeral ;   Women  worshipping  I acchus , 
Servants  of  Pluto,  &r>c. 

"  The  play  7vas  first  produced  in  Athens  at  the  Feast  of  the  Lenaea 
in  the  year  405  B.C.  //  obtained  the  first  prize.  Phrynichus  was 
second  with  '  The  Muses,'  Plato  third  with  '  The  Cleophon.' " 


THE  FROGS 

At  the  back  of  the  scene  is  the  house  of  Heracles.  Enter 
Dionysus,  disguised  as  Heracles,  with  lion-skin 
and  cluby  but  with  the  high  boots  of  tragedy  and  a 
tunic  of  saffron  silk.  He  is  followed  by  Xanthias, 
seated  on  a  donkey  and  carrying  an  immense  hale  of 
^^gg^S^  0^  ^  porter's  pole.  They  advance  for  a  while 
in  silence, 

Xanthias 

{looking  round  at  his  burden  with  a  groan). 
Sir,  shall  I  say  one  of  the  regular  things 
That  people  in  a  theatre  always  laugh  at  ? 

Dionysus. 

Say  what  you  like,  except  "Tm  overloaded." 

But  mind,  not  that.    That's  simply  wormwood  to  me. 

Xanthias  [disappointed). 
Not  anything  funny  ? 

Dionysus. 
Not  "  Oh,  my  poor  blisters  !  " 

Xanthias. 
Suppose  I  made  the  great  joke  ? 

Dionysus. 

Why,  by  all  means. 


,<^  ::  ;  \  .:ARIS.TOPHANES'   FROGS 

Don't  be  afraid.     Only,  for  mercy's  sake, 
Don't  .  .  . 

Xanthias. 

Don't  do  what  ? 

Dionysus. 

Don't  shift  your  luggage  pole 
Across,  and  say,  "  I  want  to  blow  my  nose." 

Xanthias  [greatly  disappointed). 

Nor,  that  I've  got  such  a  weight  upon  my  back 
That  unless  some  one  helps  me  quickly  I  shall  sneeze  ? 

Dionysus. 
Oh,  please,  no.     Keep  it  till  I  need  emetics. 

Xanthias. 
Then  what's  the  good  of  carrying  all  this  lumber 
If  I  mayn't  make  one  single  good  old  wheeze 
Like  Phrynichus,  Ameipsias,  and  Lykis  ? 

Dionysus. 

Ah  no ;  don't  make  them. — When  I  sit  down  there 

\Fointing  to  the  auditorium. 
And  hear  some  of  those  choice  products,  I  go  home 
A  twelvemonth  older. 

Xanthias  (^^  himself). 

Oh,  my  poor  old  neck  : 
Blistered  all  round,  and  mustn't  say  it's  blistered, 
Because  that's  funny  ! 

Dionysus. 

Airs  and  insolence  I 
When  I,  Dionysus,  child  of  the  Great  Jug, 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  5 

Must  work  and  walk  myself,  and  have  him  riding 
Lest  he  should  tire  himself  or  carry  things  1 

Xanthias. 
Am  I  not  carrying  things  ? 

Dionysus. 

They're  carrying  you. 

Xanthias  [showing  the  baggage). 

I'm  carrying  this. 

Dionysus. 

How  ? 

Xanthias. 

With  my  back  half-broken. 

Dionysus. 
That  bag  is  clearly  carried  by  a  donkey. 

Xanthias. 
No  donkey  carries  bags  that  /  am  carrying. 

Dionysus. 
I  suppose  you  know  the  donkey's  carrying  you, 

Xanthias  [turning  cross), 
I  don't.     I  only  know  my  shoulder's  sore  ! 

Dionysus. 

Well,  if  it  does  no  good  to  ride  the  donkey, 
Go  turns,  and  let  the  poor  beast  ride  on  you. 


6  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Xanthias  {aside). 
Just  like  my  luck. — Why  wasn't  I  on  board 
At  Arginusae  ?     Then  I'd  let  you  have  it. 

Dionysus. 
Dismount,  you  rascal. — Here's  the  door  close  by 
Where  I  must  turn  in  first — and  I  on  foot !  {Knochng. 
Porter  I  Hi,  porter  !  Hi  I 

Heracles  [entering  from  the  house). 
Who's  knocking  there  ? 
More  like  a  mad  bull  butting  at  the  door. 
Whoever  he  is  .  .  .  [seeing  Dionysus).     God  bless  us, 
what's  all  this  ? 

[He   examines    Dionysus  minutely^    then    chokes 
with  silent  emotion. 


Boy 


Dionysus  [aside  to  Xanthias). 
Xanthias. 


What,  sir 


Dionysus. 
Did  you  notice  ? 

Xanthias. 
Dionysus. 


Notice  what  ? 


The  man's  afraid. 


Xanthias. 
Yes,  sir  ;  [aside)  afraid  you're  cracked  ! 

Heracles  [struggling  with  laughter), 

I  wouldn't  i^  I  possibly  could  help  it : 
I'm  trying  to  bite  my  lips,  but  all  the  same  .  .  .  [roars 
with  laughter). 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  7 

Dionysus. 
Don't  be  absurd !     Come  here.     I  want  something. 

Heracles. 

I  would,  but  I  can't  yet  shake  this  laughter  ofif : 
The  lion-skin  on  a  robe  of  saffron  silk  ! 
How  comes  my  club  to  sort  with  high-heeled  boots  ? 
What's  the  idea  ?     Where  have  you  come  from  now  I 

Dionysus. 
I've  been  at  sea,  serving  with  Cleisthenes. 

Heracles. 

You  fought  a  battle  ? 

Dionysus. 

Yes  :  sank  several  ships, 
Some  twelve  or  thirteen. 

Heracles. 

Just  you  two  ? 

Dionysus. 

Of  course. 
Xanthias  (aside). 

And  then  I  woke,  and  it  was  all  a  dream  I 

Dionysus. 

Well,  one  day  I  was  sitting  there  on  deck 
Reading  the  Andromeda^  when  all  at  once 
A  great  desire  came  knocking  at  my  hesrt, 
You'd  hardly  think  .  .  . 

f      Heracles. 

A  great  desire  ?     How  big  ? 


8  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

Dionysus. 
Oh,  not  so  big.     Perhaps  as  large  as  Molon» 

Heracles. 

Who  was  the  lady  ? 

Dionysus. 
Lady? 

Heracles. 

Well,  the  girl  ? 
Dionysus. 

Great  Heaven,  there  wasn't  one  1 

Heracles. 

Well,  I  have  always 
Considered  Cleisthenes  a  perfect  lady  ! 

Dionysus. 

Don't  mock  me,  brother  !     It's  a  serious  thing, 
A  passion  that  has  worn  me  to  a  shadow. 

Heracles. 
Well,  tell  us  all  about  it. 

Dionysus 

{with  the  despair  of  an  artist  explaining  himself  to  a 

common  athlete^. 

No ;  I  can't. 
You  never  .  .  .  But  I'll  think  of  an  analogy. 
You  never  felt  a  sudden  inward  craving 
For  .  .  .  pease-broth  ? 

Heracles. 
Pease-broth  ?     Bless  me,  crowds  of  times. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  9 

Dionysus. 

See'st  then  the  sudden  truth?     Or  shall  I  put  it 
Another  way  ? 

Heracles. 

Oh,  not  about  pease-broth. 
I  see  It  quite. 

Dionysus. 

Well,  I  am  now  consumed  | 
By  just  that  sort  of  restless  craving  for  ( 

Euripides. 

Heracles. 

Lord  save  us,  the  man's  dead  ! 

Dionysus. 

He  is ;  and  no  one  in  this  world  shall  stop  me 
From  going  to  see  him  ! 

Heracles. 

Down  to  the  place  of  shades  ? 

Dionysus. 
The  place  of  shades  or  any  shadier  still, 

Heracles. 
What  do  you  want  to  get  ? 

Dionysus. 

I  want  a  poet, 
For  most  be  dead ;   only  the  false  live  on. 

Heracles. 
I^^hon's  still  alive. 

Dionysus. 

Well,  there  you  have  ft ; 


£0  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

The  one  good  thing  still  left  us,  if  it  is  one. 
For  even  as  to  that  I  have  my  doubts. 

Heracles. 

But  say,  why  don't  you  bring  up  Sophocles 

By  preference,  if  you  must  have  some  one  bad:  ? 

Dionysus. 
No,  not  till  I've  had  lophon  quite  alone 
And  seen  what  note  he  gives  without  his  father. 
Besides,  Euripides,  being  full  of  tricks. 
Would  give  the  slip  to  his  master,  if  need  were, 
And  try  to  escape  with  me  ;  while  Sophocles, 
Content  with  us,  will  be  content  in  Hell. 

Heracles, 

And  Agathon,  where  is  he  ? 

Dionysus. 

Gone  far  away, 
A  poet  true,  whom  many  friends  regret. 

Heracles. 
Beshrew  him  !     Where  ? 

Dionysus. 
To  feast  with  peaceful  kings  ! 

Heracles. 
And  Xenocles  ? 

Dionysus. 

Oh,  plague  take  Xenocles  ! 

Heracles. 

Pythangelus,  then  ? 

[Dionysus  shrugs  his  shoulders  in  expressive  silence. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  ii 

Xanthias  {to  himself). 

And  no  one  thinks  of  me, 
When  all  my  shoulder's  skinning,  simply  skinning. 

Heracles. 
But  aren't  there  other  pretty  fellows  there 
All  writing  tragedies  by  tens  of  thousands, 
And  miles  verboser  than  Euripides  ? 

Dionysus. 
Leaves  without  fruit ;  trills  in  the  empty  air, 
And  starling  chatter,  mutilating  art ! 
Give  them  one  chance  and  that's  the  end  of  them, 
One  weak  assault  on  an  unprotected  Muse. 
Search  as  you  will,  youll  find  no  poet  now 
With  grit  in  him,  to  wake  a  word  of  power. 

Heracles. 
How  "grit"? 

Dionysus. 

The  grit  that  gives  them  heart  to  risk 
Bold  things — vast  Ether,  residence  of  God, 
Or  Time's  long  foot,  or  souls  that  won't  take  oaths 
While  tongues  go  swearing  falsely  by  themselves, 

Heracles. 
You  like  that  stuff  ? 

Dionysus. 

Like  it  ?     I  rave  about  it. 

Heracles  {reflecting). 
Why,  yes  ;  it's  devilish  tricky,  as  you  say. 

Dionysus. 
"Ride  not  upon  my  soul  !  "    Use  your  own  donkey. 


12  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

Heracles  (^apologising). 
I  only  meant  it  was  obviously  humbug  ! 

Dionysus. 
If  ever  I  need  advice  about  a  dinner^ 
ril  come  to  you  ! 

Xanthias  (to  htmself). 

And  no  one  thinks  of  me. 

Dionysus. 
But  why  I  came  in  these  especial  trappings- 
Disguised  as  you,  in  fact — was  this.     I  want  you 
To  tell  me  all  the  hosts  with  whom  you  stayed 
That  time  you  went  to  fetch  up  Cerberus  : 
Tell  me  your  hosts,  your  harbours,  bakers'  shops, 
Inns,  taverns — reputable  and  otherwise — 
Springs,  roads,  towns,  posts,  and  landladies  that  keepl 
The  fewest  fleas.  ^ 

Xanthias  {as  before). 

And  no  one  thinks  of  me  ! 

Heracles  (impressively). 
Bold  man,  and  will  you  dare  .  .  . 

Dionysus. 
^  NoWj  don't  begin 

That  sort  of  thing  ;  but  tell  the  two  of  us 
What  road  will  take  us  quickest  down  to  Hades. — 
And,  please,  no  great  extremes  of  heat  or  cold. 

Heracles. 
Well,  which  one  had  I  better  tell  you  first  ? — 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  13 

Which  now  ? — Ah,  yes  ;  suppose  you  got  a  boatman 
To  tug  you,  with  a  hawser — round  your  neck  .  .  . 

Dionysus. 
A  chokey  sort  of  journey,  that. 

Heracles. 

Well,  then, 
There  is  a  short  road,  quick  and  smooth,  the  surface 
Well  pounded — in  a  mortar. 

Dionysus. 

The  hemlock  way  ? 

Heracles. 

Exactly. 

Dionysus. 

Cold  and  bitter  !     Why,  it  freezes 
All  your  shins  numb. 

Heracles. 
Do  you  mind  one  short  and  steep  ? 

Dionysus. 
Not  in  the  least  .  .  .  You  know  I'm  no  great  walker. 

Heracles. 
Then  just  stroll  down  to  Cerameicus  .  ,  • 

Dionysus. 

Well  ? 
Heracles. 

Climb  up  the  big  tower  .  .  . 

Dionysus. 

Good  :  and  then  ? 


14  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Heracles. 

Then  watch 

And  see  them  start  the  torch-race  down  below ; 

Lean  over  till  you  hear  the  men  say  "  Go," 

And  then,  go. 

Dionysus. 

Where  ? 

Heracles. 

Why,  over, 

Dionysus. 

Not  for  me. 

It'd  cost  me  two  whole  sausage  bags  of  brains, 

I  won't  go  that  way. 

Heracles. 
Well,  how  will  you  go  ? 

Dionysus. 
The  way^'^w  went  that  time.  \a 

Heracles  [impressively).  i\>  ^  Ajv 

The  voyage  is  long.y 
You  first  come  to  a  great  mere,  fathomless 
And  very  wide. 

Dionysus  [unimpressed). 

How  do  I  get  across  ? 

Heracles  [with  a  gesture). 

In  a  little  boat,  like  that ;  an  aged  man 

Will  row  you  across  the  ferry  ...  for  two  obols. 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  15 

Dionysus. 

Those  two  old  obols,  everywhere  at  work  ! 

I  wonder  how  they  found  their  way  down  there  ? 

Heracles.  1 

Oh,  Theseus  took  them  ! — After  that  you'll  see 
Snakes  and  queer  monsters,  crowds  and  crowds. 

Dionysus. 

Now  don't : 
Don't  play  at  bogies  !     You  can  never  move  me  1 

Heraci.es. 

Then  deep,  deep  mire  and  everlasting  filth. 
And,  wallowing  there,  such  as  have  wronged  a  guest 
Or  picked  a  wench's  pocket  while  they  kissed  her, 
Beaten  their  mothers,  smacked  their  fathers'  jaws, 
Or  sworn  perjurious  oaths  before  high  heaven. 

Dionysus. 

And  with  them,  I  should  hope,  such  as  have  learned . 

Kinesias's  latest  Battle  Dance, 

Or  copied  out  a  speech  of  Morsimus  1 

Heracles. 

Then  you  will  find  a  breath  about  your  ears 
Of  music,  and  a  light  before  your  eyes 
Most  beautiful — like  this — and  myrtle  groves, 
And  joyous  throngs  of  women  and  of  men, 
And  clapping  of  glad  hands. 

Dionysus. 

And  who  will  they  be  ? 


f 


i6  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Heracles. 
The  Initiated. 

Xanthias  (aside). 

Yes  ;  and  I'm  the  donkey 
Holiday-making  at  the  Mysteries  ! 
But  I  won't  stand  this  weight  one  moment  longer. 

[^He  begins  to  put  down  his  bundle. 

Heracles. 

And  they  will  forthwith  tell  you  all  you  seek. 
They  have  their  dwelling  just  beside  the  road, 
At  Pluto's  very  door. — So  now  good-bye ; 
And  a  pleasant  journey,  brother, 

Dionysus. 

Thanks ;  good-bye. 
Take  care  of  yourself.    {To  Xanthias,  while  Heracles 
returns  into  the  house)  Take  up  the  bags  again. 

Xanthias. 
Before  I've  put  them  down  ? 

Dionysus. 

Yes,  and  be  quick. 

Xanthias. 

No,  really,  sir ;  we  ought  to  hire  a  porter, 

Dionysus. 
And  what  if  I  can't  find  one  ? 

Xanthias. 

Then  I'll  go. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  17 

Dionysus. 

All  right. — Why,  here's  a  funeral,  just  in  time. 

\_E?iter  a  Funeral  on  the  right. 
Here,  sir — it's  you  I'm  addressing — the  defunct ; 
Do  you  care  to  carry  a  few  traps  to  Hades  I 

The  Corpse  [sitting  up).  r 

How  heavy  ? 

Dionysus. 

What  you  see. 

Corpse. 

You'll  pay  two  drachmas  ? 

Dionysus. 
Oh,  come,  that's  rather  much. 

Corpse. 

Bearers,  move  on  ! 
Dionysus. 

My  good  man,  wait  1     See  if  we  can't  arrange. 

Corpse. 
Two  drachmas  down,  or  else  don't  talk  to  me. 

Dionysus. 
Nine  obols  ? 

Corpse  [lying  down  again), 

Dtrike  me  living  if  I  will  !  "* 

[Exit  the  Funeral. 

Xanthias. 

That  dog's  too  proud  !     He'll  come  to  a  bad  end. — 
Well,  I'll  be  porter. 

B 


i8  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

Dionysus. 

That's  a  good  brave  fellow,    , 
[They  walk  on  for  some  time.      The  scene  changes^ 
a  desolate  lake  taking  the  place  of  the  house, 
Dionysus  peers  into  the  distance, 

Dionysus. 
What  IS  that  ? 

Xanthias. 

That  ?     A  lake. 


Dionysus. 


By  Zeus,  ft  Is  ! 


The  mere  he  spoke  of. 

Xanthias. 

Yes  ;  I  see  a  boat. 

Dionysus. 
Yes  ;  by  the  powers  ! 

Xanthias. 

And  yonder  must  be  Charon. 

Dionysus, 
Charon,  ahoy  I 

Both. 

Ahoy  !  Charon,  ahoy  ! 

Charon 

{approaching  in  the  boat.  He  is  an  old^  grini^  and  squalid 
Ferryman^  wearing  a  slave's  felt  cap  and  a  sleeve- 
less tunic). 

Who  is  for  rest  from  sufferings  and  cares  ? 

Who's  for  the  Carrion  Crows,  and  the  Dead  Donkeys  ; 

Lethe  and  Sparta  and  the  rest  of  Hell  ? 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  19 

Dionysus. 

I! 

Charon. 

Get  in, 

Dionysus. 

Where  do  you  touch  ?     The  Carrion  Crows, 
You  said  ? 

Charon  {gruffly). 

The  Dogs  will  be  the  place  for  you. 

Get  in. 

Dionysus, 

Come,  Xanthias. 

Charon. 

I  don't  take  slaves  : 
Unless  he  has  won  his  freedom  ?     Did  he  fight 
The  battle  of  the  Cold  Meat  Unpreserved  ? 

Xanthias. 
Well,  no  ;  my  eyes  were  very  sore  just  then  ,  .  , 

Charon. 
Then  trot  round  on  your  legs  ! 

Xanthias. 

Where  shall  I  meet  you  ? 

Charon, 
At  the  Cold  Seat  beside  the  Blasting  Stone. 

Dionysus  [to  Xanthias,  who  hesitates). 
You  understand  ? 


20  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

Xanthias. 

Oh,  quite.     [Aside)  Just  like  my  luck. 
What  can  have  crossed  me  when  I  started  out  ? 

\_Exit  Xanthias. 
Charon. 

Sit  to  your  oar  (Dionysus  does  his  best  to  obey).     Any 

more  passengers  ? 
If  so,  make  haste.    {To  Dionysus)  What  are  you  doing 

there  ? 

Dionysus. 

Why,  what  you  told  me ;  sitting  on  my  oar. 

Charon. 

Oh,  are  you  ?     Well,  get  up  again  and  sit 

[^Pushing  him  down. 
Down  there — fatty  I 

Dionysus  {doing  everything  wrong). 
Like  that  ? 

Charon. 

Put  out  your  arms 

And  stretch  .  .  . 

Dionysus. 

Like  that  I 

Charon. 

None  of  your  nonsense  here  ! 
Put  both  your  feet  against  the  stretcher. — Now, 
In  good  time,  row  ! 

Dionysus  {fluently,  putting  down  his  oars). 
And  how  do  you  expect 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  21 

A  man  like  me,  with  no  experience, 
No  seamanship,  no  Salamis, — to  row  ? 

Charon. 

You'll  row  all  right ;  as  soon  as  you  fall  to, 
You'll  hear  a  first-rate  tune  that  makes  you  row. 


Who  sings  it  ? 


That's  music  ! 


Dionysus. 

Charon. 
Certain  cycnoranidae. 


Dionysus. 
Give  the  word  then,  and  we'll  see. 
[Charon  gives  the  word  for  rowing  and  marks 
the  time,  A  Chorus  of  Frogs  under  the 
water  is  heard.  The  Feast  of  Pots  to  which 
they  refer  was  the  third  day  of  the  Anthesteria^ 
and  included  songs  to  Dionysus  at  his  temple 
in  the  district  called  Limnae  ("  Marshes "). 

Frogs. 

O  brood  of  the  mere  and  the  spring,  ' 
Gather  together  and  sing 

From  the  depths  of  your  throat 

By  the  side  of  the  boat, 
Co-ax,  as  we  move  in  a  ring ; 

As  in  Limnae  we  sang  the  divine 
Nyseian  Giver  of  Wine, 

When  the  people  in  lots 

With  their  sanctified  Pots 
Came  reeling  around  my  shrine. 


22  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Co-Sx,  co-ax,  co-ax, 
Brekekekex  co-ax. 

Dionysus. 
Don't  sing  any  more  j 
I  begin  to  be  sore  ! 

Frogs, 
Brekekekex  co-ax. 

Co-ax,  co-ax,  co-itx, 
Brekekekex  co-ax  ! 

Dionysus. 
Is  it  nothing  to  you 
If  I'm  black  and  I'm  blue  ? 

Frogs, 
Brekekekex  co-iix  i 

Dionysus. 

A  plague  on  all  of  your  swarming  packs. 
There's  nothing  in  you  except  co-ax  ! 

Frogs. 

Well,  and  what  more  do  you  need  ? 
Though  it's  none  of  your  business  indeed, 

When  the  Muse  thereanent 

Is  entirely  content, 
And  horny-hoof  Pan  with  his  reed  : 

When  Apollo  is  fain  to  admire 
My  voice,  on  account  of  his  lyre 

Which  he  frames  with  the  rushes 

And  watery  bushes — 
Co-ax  ! — which  I  grow  in  the  mire. 


ARISTOPHANES*  FROGS  23 

Co-Sx,  co-ax,  co-Sx, 
Brekekekex  coax  ! 

Dionysus. 
Peace,  musical  sisters  ! 
I'm  covered  with  blisters. 

Frogs. 
Brekekekex  co-ax. 

Co-ax,  co-ax,  co-ax, 
Brekekekex  co-ax  ! 

Our  song  we  can  double 

Without  the  least  trouble  : 
Brekekekex  co-Sx. 


',  Sing  we  now,  if  ever  hopping 

Through  the  sedge  and  flowering  rushes ; 
In  and  out  the  sunshine  flopping. 
We  have  sported,  rising,  dropping. 

With  our  song  that  nothing  hushes. 

Sing,  if  e'er  in  days  of  storm 

Safe  our  native  oozes  bore  us, 
Staved  the  rain  off,  kept  us  warm. 
Till  we  set  our  dance  in  form. 

Raised  our  hubble-bubbling  chorus  : 

Brekekekex  co-ax,  co-ax  ! 

Dionysus. 
Brekekekex  co-iix,  co-ax  ! 

I  can  sing  it  as  loud  as  you. 

Frogs. 
Sisters,  that  he  never  must  do  I 


24  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Dionysus. 
Would  you  have  me  row  till  my  shoulder  cracks  r 

Frogs. 
BTekekekex  co-ax,  co-ax  f 

Dionysus. 
Brekekekex  co-ax,  co-ax  ! 
Groan  away  till  you  burst  your  backs. 
It's  nothing  to  me. 

Frogs. 
Just  wait  till  you  see. 

Dionysus. 
I  don't  care  how  you  scold- 

Frogs, 
Then  all  day  long 
We  will  croak  you  a  song 
As  loud  as  our  throats  can  hold. 

Brekekekex  co-ax,  co-ax  ! ! 

Dionysus. 
Brekekekex  co-ax,  co-ax  !  I 
ril  see  you  don't  outdo  me  in  that. 

Frogs. 
Well,  you  shall  never  beat  us — that's  flat ! 

Dionysus. 
I'll  make  you  cease  your  song 
If  I  shout  for  it  all  day  long ; 

My  lungs  I'll  tax 

With  co-ax,  co-ax 
• — I  assure  you  they're  thoroughly  strong — 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  25 

Until  your  efforts  at  last  relax  : 
Brekekekex  co-ax,  co-ax  !  I 

\_No  answer  from  the  Frogs, 
Brekekekex  co-ax,  co-ax  !  !  ! 
I  knew  in  the  end  I  should  stop  your  quacks  ! 

\The  boat  has  now  reached  the  further  shore. 

Charon. 

Easy  there  !     Stop  her  !     Lay  her  alongside. — 
Now  pay  your  fare  and  go. 

Dionysus. 

There  are  the  obols. 
[Dionysus  gets   out.     The   boat  and  Charon 
disappear.     Dionysus  peers  about  htm. 
Ho,  Xanthias !  .  .  .  Where's  Xanthias  ? — Is  that  you  ? 

Xanthias  [from  the  darkness). 
Hullo ! 

Dionysus. 

Come  this  way. 

Xanthias  (entering). 

Oh,  I'm  glad  to  see  you! 

Dionysus  {looking  round). 
Well,  and  what  have  we  here  ? 

Xanthias. 

Darkness — and  mud. 

Dionysus. 

Did  you  see  any  of  the  perjurers  here, 
And  father-beaters,  as  he  said  we  should  ? 


26  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Xanthias, 
Why,  didn't  you  ? 

Dionysus. 

I  ?     Lots. 

\Looking  full  at  the  audience. 
I  see  them  now. 
It''        Well,  what  are  we  to  do  ? 

Xanthias. 

Move  further  on« 
This  is  the  place  he  said  was  all  aswarm 
With  horrid  beasts. 

Dionysus. 

A  plague  on  what  he  said  ! 
Exaggerating  just  to  frighten  me, 
Because  he  knew  my  courage  and  was  jealous. 
Naught  lives  so  flown  with   pride  as  Heracles! 
Why,  my  best  wish  would  be  to  meet  with  something, 
Some  real  adventure,  worthy  of  our  travels  I 

Xanthias  [listening). 
Stay  ! — Yes,  upon  my  word.     I  hear  a  noise. 

Dionysus  [nervously), 
God  bless  me,  where  ? 

Xanthias. 
Behind. 

Dionysus. 

Go  to  the  tear. 
Xanthias, 

No  ;  it's  in  front  somewhere. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  27 

Dionysus. 

Then  get  in  front. 

Xanthias. 
Why,  there  I  see  it. — Save  us  ! — A  great  beast.  ,  .  . 

Dionysus  {cowering  behind  Xanthias). 

What  like  ? 

Xanthias. 

Horrid !  ...  At  least  it  keeps  on  changing ! 

It  was  a  bull ;   now  it's  a  mule  ;  and  now 

A  fair  young  girl. 

Dionysus. 

Where  is  it  ?     Let  me  at  it ! 

Xanthias. 
Stay,  sir  ;  it's  not  a  girl  now,  it's  a  dog, 

Dionysus. 

It  must  be  Empusa  !  '^ 

Xanthias. 

Yes.     At  least  its  head 

Is  all  on  fire. 

Dionysus. 

Has  it  a  leg  of  brass  ? 

Xanthias. 
Yes,  that  it  has.     And  the  other  leg  of  cow-dung. 

It's  she  ! 

Dionysus. 

Where  shall  I  go  ? 

Xanthias. 

Well,  where  shall  I  ? 


28  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Dionysus 
{running  forward  and  addressing  the  Priest  of  Dionysus 
in  his  seat  of  state  in  the  centre  of  the  front  row 
of  the  audience). 

My  Priest,  protect  me  and  we'll  sup  together  I 

Xanthias. 
We're  done  for,  O  Lord  Heracles. 

Dionysus  {cowering  again). 

Oh,  don't ! 
Don't  shout  like  that,  man,  and  don't  breathe  that 
name. 

Xanthias. 
Dionysus,  then  ! 

Dionysus. 

No,  no.    That's  worse  than  the  other.  .  .  . 
Keep  on  the  way  you're  going. 

Xanthias  {after  searching  about). 

Come  along,  sir. 
Dionysus, 
What  is  it  ? 

Xanthias. 

Don't  be  afraid,  sir.     All  goes  well. 
And  we  can  say  as  said  Hegelochus, 
"  Beyond  these  storms  I^caXch^a^ece_ofjjaiU " 
Empusa's  gone. 

Dionysus. 

Swear  it. 

Xanthias. 

By  Zeus,  she's  gone  ? 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  29 

Dionysus. 
Again. 

Xanthias. 

By  Zeus,  she's  gone  ! 

Dionysus. 

Your  solemn  oath. 

Xanthias. 
By  Zeus  I  ! 

Dionysus  {raising  himself). 

Dear  me,  that  made  me  feel  quite  pale. 

Xanthias  {pointing  to  the  Priest). 
And  this  kind  gentleman  turned  red  for  sympathy. 

Dionysus. 

How  can  I  have  sinned  to  bring  all  this  upon  me  ? 
What  power  above  is  bent  on  my  destruction  ? 

Xanthias. 
The  residence  of  God,  or  Time's  long  foot? 

Dionysus  {listening  as  flute-playing  is  heard  outside), 

I  say  ! 

Xanthias. 
What  is  it  ? 

Dionysus. 

Don't  you  hear  it  ? 

Xanthias. 

What  ? 
Dionysus. 
Flutes  blowing. 


30  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Xanthias. 

Yes.     And  such  a  smell  of  torches 
Floating  towards  us,  all  most  Mystery-like  ! 

Dionysus. 
Crouch  quietly  down  and  let  us  hear  the  music, 

[They  crouch  down  at  the  left.     Music  is  heard 
far  off,     Xanthias  puts  down  the  bundle. 

Chorus  {unseen), 

lacchus,  O  lacchus  ! 
lacchus,  O  lacchus ! 

Xanthias. 

That'*s  it,  sir.     These  are  the  Initiated 
Rejoicing  somewhere  here,  just  as  he  told  us. 
Why,  it's  the  old  lacchus  hymn  that  used 
To  warm  the  cockles  of  Diagoras  1 

Dionysus. 

Yes,  it  must  be.     However,  weM  best  sit 
Quite  still  and  listen,  till  weVe  sure  of  it. 

\There  enters  gradually  the  Chorus,  consisting  of 
Men  Initiated  in  the  Eleusinian  Mysteries. 
They  are  led  by  a  Hierophant  or  Initiat- 
ing Priesty  and  accompanied  by  a  throng  of 
Worshipping  Women,  They  have  white 
robeSj  wreaths  upon  their  brows,  and  torches 
in  their  hands.  During  their  entrance  the 
back  scene  again  changes.  The  lake  disappears 
and  we  find  ourselves  in  front  of  the  house  of 
Pluto, 


ARISTOPHANES'    FROGS  31 

Chorus.  ,/ 

Thou  that  dwellest  in  the  shadow 
Of  great  glory  here  beside  us, 
Spirit,  Spirit,  we  have  hied  us 
To  thy  dancing  in  the  meadow  ! 
Come,  lacchus  ;  let  thy  brow 
Toss  its  fruited  myrtle  bough  ; 
We  are  thine,  O  happy  dancer  ;  O  our  comrade,  come 
and  guide  us  ! 

Let  the  mystic  measure  beat : 
Come  in  riot  fiery  fleet ; 
Free  and  holy  all  before  thee, 
While  the  Charites  adore  thee, 
And  thy  Mystae  wait  the  music  of  thy  feet ! 

Xanthias. 

O  Virgin  of  Demeter,  highly  blest. 
What  an  entrancing  smell  of  roasted  pig  ! 

Dionysus. 

Hush  !  hold  your  tongue  !     Perhaps  they'll  give  you 
some. 

Chorus. 

Spirit,  Spirit,  lift  the  shaken 

Splendour  of  thy  tossing  torches  ! 
All  the  meadow  flashes,  scorches  : 
Up,  lacchus,  and  awaken  ! 
Come,  thou  star  that  bringest  light 
To  the  darkness  of  our  rite, 
Till  thine  old  men  leap  as  young  men,  leap  with  every 
thought  forsaken 


32  ARISTOPHANES'    FROGS 

Of  the  dulness  and  the  fear 
Left  by  many  a  circling  year : 
Let  thy  red  light  guide  the  dances 
Where  thy  banded  youth  advances 
To  be  merry  by  the  blossoms  of  the  mere  ! 

[All  the  Chorus  has  now  entered. 


HiEROPHANT, 

Hush,  oh  hush  !  for  our  song  begins.     Let  every  one 

stand  aside 
Who  owns  an  intellect  muddled  with  sins,  or  in  arts 

like  these  untried  : 
If  the  mystic  rites  of  the  Muses  true  he  has  never 

seen  nor  sung  : 
If  he  never  the  magical  music  knew  of  Ctatinus  the 

Bull-eater"'s  tongue  : 
If  he  likes  in  a  comedy  nothing  but  riot  and  meaning- 
less harlequinade  : 
Or  in  matters  of  politics  cannot  keep  quiet  and  see 

that  cabals  be  allayed, 
But  blows  up  spite  and  keeps  it  alight  to  serve  his 

personal  ends  : 
Or  being  in  power  at  a  critical  hour,  accepts  little 

gifts  from  his  friends  : 
Or  goes  selling  a  ship,  or  betraying  a  fort,  or  takes  to 

the  trade  of  a  smuggler. 
Attempting  again,  in  Thorycion's  sort, — that  pestilent 

revenue-juggler, — 
From  Aegina  before  us  to  stock  Epidaurus  with  tar 

and  canvas  and  hide, 
Or  tries  to  persuade  some  friend  in  the  trade  for  the 

enemy's  ships  to  provide  : 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  33 

Or  a  teacher  of  choirs  who  forgets  his  position  and 

damages  Hecate's  shrines  : 
Or  the  robber  of  poets,  the  mere  politician,  who  spites 
-v^       us  with  pitiful  fines 

Because  we   have  suitably  made  him   absurd    in   the 

God's  traditional  rhyme  : 
liehold,  I  give  word  :  and  again  give  word  :  and  give 

word  for  the  third,  last  time  : 
Make  room,  all  such,  for  our  dance  and  song. — Up, 

you,  and  give  us  a  lay 
That  is  meet  for  our  mirth-making  all  night  long  and 

for  this  great  festival  day. 

Chorus. 

Forth  fare  all ; 

This  mead's  bowers 
Bear  fresh  flowers  ; 
Forth,  I  call. 
Leap,  mock,  dance,  play ; 
Enough  and  to  spare  we  have  feasted  to-day  ! 

March  :  raise  high 
Her  whose  hands 
Save  these  lands ; 
Raise  due  cry  : 
Maid,  Maid,  save  these, 
Tho'  it  may  not  exactly  Thorycion  please  ! 

HiEROPHANT. 

One  hymn  to  the  Maiden  ;  now  raise  ye  another 
To  the  Queen  of  the  Fruits  of  the  Earth. 

To  Demeter  the  Corn-giver,  Goddess  and  Mother, 
Make  worship  in  musical  mirth. 


34  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Chorus. 
Approach,  O  Queen  of  orgies  pure, 
And  us,  thy  faithful  band,  ensure 
From  morn  to  eve  to  ply  secure 

Our  mocking  and  our  clowning  : 
To  grace  thy  feast  with  many  a  hit 
Of  merry  jest  or  serious  wit, 
And  laugh,  and  earn  the  prize,  and  flit 

Triumphant  to  the  crowning. 

HiEROPHANT. 

Now  call  the  God  of  blooming  mien  ; 

Raise  the  mystic  chorus  : 
Our  comrade  he  and  guide  unseen, 

With  us  and  before  us. 

Chorus. 
lacchus  high  in  glory,  thou  whose  day 
Of  all  is  merriest,  hither,  help  our  play ; 

Show,  as  we  throne  thee  at  thy  Maiden's  side, 
How  light  to  thee  are  our  long  leagues  of  way. 

lacchus,  happy  dancer,  be  our  guide. 

Thyself,  that  poorest  men  thy  joy  should  share, 
Didst  rend  thy  robe,  thy  royal  sandal  tear, 

That  feet  unshod  might  dance,  and  robes  rent  wide 
Wave  in  thy  revel  with  no  after  care. 

lacchus,  happy  dancer,  be  our  guide. 

Lo  there  1  but  now  across  the  dance  apace 
A  maiden  tripped,  a  maiden  fair  of  face, 

Whose  tattered  smock  and  kerchief  scarce  could  hide 
The  merry  bosom  peering  from  its  place. 

lacchus,  happy  dancer,  be  our  guide. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  35 

Xanthias. 

I  always  liked  to  follow  some  one  else  : 
Suppose  we  join  and  dance  ? 

Dionysus. 

Why,  so  say  I. 

\They  join  the  Dance,     / 

HiEROPHANT. 

[These  verses  satirise  Archedimus^  the  politician^ 
who  has  never  succeeded  in  making  out  a  clear 
Athenian  pedigree  for  himself ;  CleistheneSy 
who  went  into  mourning  for  imaginary  re- 
latives lost  at  Arginusae  ;  and  Callias^  the 
lady-killer^  who  professed  a  descent  from 
Heracles^  and  wore  a  lion-skin  in  token 
thereof. 

Perhaps  'twill  best  beseem  us 
To  deal  with  Archedemus, 
Whojs  toothless  still  and  rootless,  at  seven  years  from 
birth  : 

Chorus. 

Yet  he  leads  the  public  preachers 
Of  those  poor  dead  upper  creatures, 
And  is  prince  of  all  the  shadiness  on  earth  ! 

HiEROPHANT. 

And  Clristhenes,  says  rumour, 
In  a  wild  despairing  humour 
Sits  huddled  up  and  tearing  out  his  hair  among  the 
graves. 


36  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Chorus. 

-    To  believe  he  would  incline  us 
That  a  person  named  Sebinus 
Is  tossing  yet  unburied  on  the  waves  I 

HiEROPHANT. 

While  Callias,  says  tattle, 
Has  attended  a  sea-battle, 
And  lionesses'  scalps  were  the  uniform  he  wore  ! 

Dionysus  {to  The  Hierophant). 

You'd  oblige  us  much  by  telling 
Me  the  way  to  Pluto's  dwelling. 
We  are  strangers  newly  lighted  on  your  shore. 

HiEROPHANxi^l^vJe.^   j 

No  need  of  distant  travel  ' 

That  problem  to  unravel ; 
For  know  that  while  you  ask  me,  you  are  standing 
at  the  door. 

Dionysus  {to  Xanthias). 
'  Then  up,  my  lad,  be  packing  ! 

Xanthias. 

There's  the  Devil  in  the  sacking  : 
It  can't  stay  still  a  second  on  the  floor  I 

Hierophant. 

Now  onward  through  Demeter's  ring 
Through  tht  leaves  and  flowers. 

All  who  love  her  junketing, 
All  who  know  her  powers  ! 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  37 

Fare  forward  you,  while  I  go  here 
With  matron  and  with  maiden, 

To  make  their  night-long  roaming  clear 
With  tossing  torches  laden. 

Chorus  [of  Worshipping  Women^  as  they  file  off). 

Then  on  'mid  the  meadows  deep, 
Where  thickest  the  rosebuds  creep 

And  the  dewdrops  are  pearliest : 
A  jubilant  step  advance 
In  our  own,  our  eternal  dance, 
Till  its  joy  the  Glad  Fates  entrance 

Who  threaded  it  earliest. 

For  ours  is  the  sunshine  bright, 
Yea,  ours  is  the  joy  of  light 

All  pure,  without  danger  : 
For  we  thine  Elect  have  been, 
Thy  secrets  our  eyes  have  seen, 
And  our  hearts  we  have  guarded  clean 

Toward  kinsman  and  stranger  ! 

The  HiEROPHANT  and  the  Worshipping  Women  go  off. 
The  Men  remain^  forming  an  ordinary  Chorus. 
Dionysus  approaches  the  central  door, 

Dionysus.  , 

I  ought  by  rights  to  knock  ;  but  how,  I  wonder,  j^ 
I  don't  know  how  they  dn  knock  !^"  this  country. 

Xanthias. 

Oh,  don't  waste  time.     Go  in  and  do  your  best, 
Like  Heracles  in  heart  as  well  as  garb. 


38  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Dionysus  {knocking). 
Ho  there ! 

[The  door  opens  and  a  Porter  appear s,  whose  dress 
shows  him  to  be  Aeacus,  the  Judge  of  the 
Dead, 

Abacus. 
Who  summons  ? 


Dionysus. 


Abacus. 


Heracles  the  Brave. 


Thou  rash,  impure,  and  most  abandoned  man, 
Foul,  inly  foul,  yea  foulest  upon  earth, 
Who  harried  our  dog,  Kerberus,  choked  him  dumb. 
Fled,  vanished,  and  left  me  to  bear  the  blame. 
Who  kept  him  ! — Now  I  have  thee  on  the  hip  1 
So  close  the  black  encaverned  rocks  of  Styx 
And  Acheronian  crags  a-drip  with  blood 
Surround  thee,  and  Cocytus'  circling  hounds. 
And  the  hundred-headed  serpent,  that  shall  rend 
Thy  bowels  asunder  ;  to  thy  lungs  shall  cleave 
The  lamprey  of  Tartessus,  and  thy  reins 
And  inmost  entrails  in  one  paste  of  gore 
Teithrasian  Gorgons  gorge  for  evermore  ! 
— To  whom,  even  now,  I  speed  my  indignant  course  ! 

\The  Porter  retires. 

Dionysus  {who  has  fallen  prostrate). 
Please  ! 

Xanthias. 

What's  the  matter  ?     Quick,  get  up  again 
Before  they  come  and  see  you. 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  39 

Dionysus. 

But  I  feel 
Faint. — Put  a  cold  wet  sponge  against  my  heart. 

Xanthias  [producing  a  sponge). 

There  j  you  apply  it. 

Dionysus. 

Thanks.     Where  is  it  ? 

Xanthias. 

There. 
[Dionysus  takes  and  applies  it. 
Ye  golden  gods,  is  it  there  you  keep  your  heart  ? 

Dionysus. 
The  nervous  shock  made  it  go  down  and  down  ! 

Xanthias. 

You  are  the  greatest  coward  I  ever  saw, 
Of  gods  or  humans  I 

Dionysus. 
I  a  coward  ? — I  had 
The  presence  of  mind  to  ask  you  for  a  sponge. 
Few  had  done  more  ! 

Xanthias. 
Could  any  one  do  less  ? 

Dionysus. 

A  coward  would  still  be  flat  there,  sniffing  salts  ; 
I  rose,  called  for  a  sponge,  and  used  the  sponge. 

Xanthias. 
That  was  brave,  by  Poseidon  1 


40  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Dionysus. 

I  should  think  so. — 
And  weren't  you  frightened  at  his  awful  threats 
And  language  ? 

Xanthias. 

I  ?     I  never  cared  a  rap, 

Dionysus. 

Oh,  you're  a  hero,  aren't  you  ? — and  want  glory. 
Well,  you  be  me  I     Put  on  this  lion's  hide 
And  take  the  club — if  you're  so  dauntless-hearted. 
I'll  take  my  turn,  and  be  your  luggage-boy. 

;^vf  5  Xanthias. 

r  with  both  of  them  !     Of  course  I  will. 
^5  l^He  proceeds  to  put  on  the  lion-skin. 

Now  watch  if  Xanthias- Heracles  turns  faint, 
Or  shows  the  same  "  presence  of  mind,"  as  you, 

Dionysus. 

The  true  Melitean  jail-bird,  on  my  life  !  .  .  . 
Well,  I  suppose  I'd  better  take  the  luggage. 

\The  exchange  is  just  effected  when  the  door  again 
opens  and  there  enters  a  Maid  of  Perse- 
phone. 

Maid. 

Dear  Heracles,  and  is  it  you  once  more  ? 
Come  in  !     No  sooner  did  my  mistress  learn 
Your  coming,  than  she  set  her  bread  to  bake, 
Set  pots  of  split-pea  porridge,  two  or  three. 
A-boiling,  a  whole  ox  upon  the  coals, 
Cakes  in  the  oven,  and  big  buns. — Oh,  come  in. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  41 

Xanthias  {as  Heracles). 
She  is  very  kind  ;  perhaps  some  other  time. 

Maid. 
Oh,  really  ;  but  I  mustn't  let  you  go  ! 
She's  doing  everything  herself !     Braised  game, 
Spices  and  fruits  and  stoups  of  the  sweetest  wine — 
Come  in  with  me. 

Xanthias. 

Most  kind,  but  ,  ,  , 

Maid. 

No  excuses. 
I  won't  let  go. — A  flute-player,  very  pretty. 
Is  waiting  for  you,  and  two  or  three  such  sweet 
Young  dancing  girls. 

Xanthias  (wavering).  i/J^ 

Did  you  say  dancing  girls  ? 

Maid. 
Yes.     Do  come  in. — They  just  were  going  to  serve 
The  fish,  and  have  the  table  lifted  in. 

Xanthias. 
I  will  !     I'll  chance  it  ! — Go  straight  in  and  tell 
Those  dancing  girls  that  Heracles  is  coming  ! 

[The  Maid  retires  again. 
Here,  boy,  take  up  the  bags  and  follow  me. 

Dionysus. 
Stop,  please  ! — You  didn't  take  it  seriously  *  ' 

When  I  just  dressed  you  as  Heracles  for  fun  ?         ^"" 
You  can't  be  so  ridiculous,  Xanthias. 
Take  up  the  bags  at  once  and  bring  them  in. 


42  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Xanthias. 

What  ?     Surely  you  don't  mean  to  take  away 
Your  own  gift  ? 

Dionysus. 

Mean  it  ?     No  ;  Tm  doing  it  I 
Off  with  that  lion-skin,  quick, 

\_Begin5  to  strip  off  the  lion-skin  by  force, 

Xanthias. 

Help  !     Vvci  assaulted  .  .  . 
[Giving  way, 
I  leave  it  with  the  Gods  ! 

Dionysus  [proceeding  to  dress  himself  again). 

The  Gods,  indeed  I 
What  senseless  vanity  to  expect  to  be 
Alcmena's  son,  a  mortal  and  a  slave  ! 

Xanthias. 

Well,  take  it.     I  don't  care. — The  time  may  be, 
God  willing,  when  you'll  feel  the  need  of  me  ! 

Chorus. 

That's  the  way  such  points  to  settle, 
Like  a  chief  of  tested  mettle. 

Weather-worn  on  many  seas. 
Not  in  one  fixed  pattern  stopping. 
Like  a  painted  thing,  but  dropping 

Always  towards  the  side  of  ease. 
*Tis  this  instinct  for  soft  places, 

To  keep  warm  while  others  freeze, 
Marks  a  man  of  gifts  and  graces. 

Like  our  own  Theramenes  1 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  43 

Dionysus. 
Surely  'twould  the  matter  worsen, 
If  I  saw  this  low-bred  person 

On  his  cushions  sprawling,  so, 
Served  him  drinking,  watched  him  winking: — 
If  he  knew  what  I  was  thinking — 

And  he  would,  for  certain,  know, 
Being  a  mighty  shrewd  deviser 
Of  such  fancies — with  a  blow 
P'raps  he'd  loosen  an  incisor 

From  the  forefront  of  my  row  ! 
[^During  this  song  there  has  entered  along  the  street 
a  Landlady,  who  is  soon  followed  by  her 
servant,  Plathan^. 

Landlady. 

Ho,  Platband,  here,  I  want  you,  Plathane  \  ,  .  o 
Here  is  that  scamp  who  came  to  the  inn  before, 
Ate  sixteen  loaves  of  bread.  .  .  . 

Plathan^. 

Why,  so  it  is  : 
The  very  man  ! 

Xanthias  [aside). 

Here's  fun  for  somebody. 

Landlady. 
And  twenty  plates  of  boiled  meat,  half-an-obol 
At  every  gulp  1 

Xanthias  [as  before). 
Some  one'll  catch  it  now  ! 

Landlady. 

And  all  that  garlic. 


44  ARISTOPHANES*  FROGS 

Dionysus. 

Nonsense,  my  good  woman, 
You  don't  know  what  you're  saying. 

PLATHANi. 

Did  you  think 
I  wouldn't  know  you  in  those  high-heeled  boots  ? 

Landlady. 
And  all  the  salt-fish  I've  not  mentioned  yet.  .  .  . 

Plathan^  {to  Landlady). 

No,  you  poor  thing  ;  and  all  the  good  fresh  cheese 
The  man  kept  swallowing,  and  the  baskets  with  it ! 

Landlady  {to  Xanthias). 

And  when  he  saw  me  coming  for  the  money 
Glared  like  a  wild  bull  1     Yes,  and  roared  at  me  1 

Xanthias. 
Just  what  he  does  !     His  manners  everywhere. 

Landlady. 
Tugged  at  his  sword  !     Pretended  to  be  mad  ! 

Plathan^. 
Yes,  you  poor  thing  ;  I  don't  know  how  you  bore  it ! 

Landlady. 

And  we  got  all  of  a  tremble,  both  of  us. 
And  ran  up  the  ladder  to  the  loft !     And  he. 
He  tore  the  matting  up — and  off  he  went ! 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  45 

Xanthias. 
Like  him,  again. 

Plathan^, 

But  something  must  be  done  ! 

Landlady  {to  PLATHANi). 
Run,  you,  and  fetch  me  my  protector,  Cleon. 

PLATHANi 

{to  the  Landlady,  as  they  run  excitedly  to  go  off" in 
different  directions). 
And  you  fetch  me  Hyperbolus,  if  you  meet  him.  .  .  . 
Then  wc  shall  crush  him  1 

Landlady  {returning). 

Oh,  that  ugly  jaw  ! 
If  I  could  throw  a  stone,  Fid  like  to  break 
Those  wicked  teeth  that  ground  my  larder  dry  ! 

Plathan^  {returning  on  the  other  side). 
And  I  should  like  to  fling  you  in  the  pit ! 

Landlady  {turning  again  as  she  goes  off). 
And  I  should  like  to  get  a  scythe,  and  cut 
That  throat  that  swallowed  all  my  sausages. 

Plathane  {the  same). 
Well,  ril  go  straight  to  Cleon,  and  this  same  day 
We'll  worm  them  out  in  a  law-court,  come  what  may  ! 
[The  Landlady  and  Plathan^^^  '^ff^^  different 
directions.    A  painful  silence  ensues.    At  length  : 

Dionysus. 
Plague  take  me  !     No  friend  left  me  in  the  world.  .  .  . 
Except  old  Xanthias  ! 


46  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Xanthias. 

I  know,  I  know  ! 
We  all  see  what  you  want.     But  that's  enough  I 
I  won't  be  Heracles. 

Dionysus. 

Now  don't  say  that, 
Xanthias — old  boy  ! 

•  Xanthias. 

And  how  am  I  to  be 
Alcmena's  son — a  mortal  and  a  slave? 

Dionysus. 

I  know  you're  angry,  and  quite  justly  so. 
Hit  me  if  you  like  ;  I  won't  say  one  word  back. 
But,  mark,  if  ever  again  in  this  wide  world 
I  rob  you  of  these  clothes,  destruction  fall 
On  me  myself,  my  wife,  my  little  ones, — 
And,  if  you  like,  on  the  old  bat  Archedemus  ! 

Xanthias. 
That  oath  will  do.     I  take  it  on  those  terms. 

Chorus. 
Now  'tis  yours  to  make  repayment 
For  the  honour  of  this  raiment ; 

Wear  it  well,  as  erst  you  wore  ; 
If  it  needs  some  renovating, 
Think  of  whom  you're  personating, 

Glare  like  Heracles  and  roar. 
Else,  if  any  fear  you  show,  sir, 

Any  weakness  at  the  core, 
Any  jesting,  back  you  go,  sir, 

To  the  bagg;age  as  before  ! 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  47 

Xanthias. 
Thank  you  for  your  kind  intention, 
But  I  had  some  comprehension 

Of  the  task  I  undertook. 
Should  the  lion-skin  make  for  profit, 
He'll  attempt  to  make  me  doff  it — 

That  I  know — by  hook  or  crook. 
Still  I'll  make  my  acting  real, 

Peppery  gait  and  fiery  look. 
Ha  !     Here  comes  the  great  ordeal : 

See  the  door.     I'm  sure  it  shook  1 

The  central  door  opens  and  the  Porter^  Abacus,  comes  out 
with  several  ferocious-looking  Thracian  or  Scythian 
constables, 

Aeacus. 

Here,  seize  this  dog-stealer  and  lead  him  forth 
To  justice,  quick. 

Dionysus  {imitating  Xanthias). 
Here's  fun  for  somebody, 

Xanthias  {in  a  Heraclean  attitude). 
Stop,  zounds  !     Not  one  step  more  ! 

Abacus. 

You  want  to  fight  ? 
Ho,  Ditylas,  Skeblyas,  and  Pardokas, 
Forward  !     Oblige  this  person  with  some  fighting  ! 

Dionysus 
{while  the  constables  gradually  overpower  Xanthias). 
How  shocking  to  assault  the  constables — 
And  stealing  other  people's  things  ! 


48  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Aeacus. 

Unnatural, 
That's  what  I  call  it. 

Dionysus. 
Quite  a  pain  to  see. 

Xanthias  {now  overpowered  and  disarmed). 

Now,  by  Lord  Zeus,  if  ever  I've  been  here 

Or  stol'n  from  you  the  value  of  one  hair. 

You  may  take  and  hang  me  on  the  nearest  tree  !  .  ,  « 

Now,  listen  :  and  I'll  act  quite  fairly  by  you ; 

[^Suddenly  indicating  Dionysus. 
Take  this  poor  boy,  andput  him  to  the  question  ! 
And  if  you  find  me  guilty,  hang  me  straight. 

Abacus. 
What  tortures  do  you  allow  ? 

Xanthias. 

Use  all  you  like. 
Tie  him  in  the  ladder,  hang  him  by  the  feet, 
Whip  off  his  skin  with  bristle-whips  and  rack  him  ; 
You  might  well  try  some  vinegar  up  his  nose. 
And  bricks  upon  his  chest,  and  so  on.     Only 
No  scourges  made  of  .  ,  .  leek  or  young  shalott. 

Aeacus. 

A  most  frank  offer,  most  frank. — If  my  treatment 
Disables  him,  the  value  shall  be  paid. 

Xanthias. 
Don't  mention  it.     Remove  him  and  begm. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  49 

Abacus. 
Thank  you,  we'll  do  it  here,  that  you  may  witness 
Exactly  what   he   says.      {To  Dionysus)    Put    down 

your  bundle. 
And  mind  you  tell  the  truth, 

Dionysus 
{who  has  hitherto  been  speechless  with  horror^  now  burst- 
ing out). 

I  warn  all  present, 
To  torture  me  is  an  illegal  act, 

Being  immortal  !     And  whoever  does  so 
Must  take  the  consequences. 

Abacus. 

Why,  who  are  you  ? 

Dionysus. 
The  immortal  Dionysus,  son  of  Zeus  ; 
And  this  my  slave. 

Abacus  {to  Xanthias). 

You  hear  his  protest  ? 

Xanthias. 

All  the  more  reason,  that,  for  whipping  him  \?    p 
If  he's  a  real  immortal  he  won't  feel  it.  C^ 

Dionysus. 
Well,  but  you  claim  to  be  immortal  too ; 
They  ought  to  give  you  just  the  same  as  me, 

Xanthias. 
That's  fair  enough.     All  right ;  whichever  of  us       , 
You  first  findj:rying^,Qrjthe  least  bit  minding  f 

YourwHTp^  you're  free  to  saylie's  noTfue'gbd. 

D 


50  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Aeacus. 
Sir,  you  behave  like  a  true  gentleman  ; 
You  come  to  justice  of  yourself! — Now  then, 
Strip,  both. 

Xanthias. 

How  will  you  test  us  ? 

Aeacus. 

Easily : 
You'll  each  take  whack  and  whack  about. 

Xanthias. 

All  right. 
Aeacus  [striking  Xanthias). 
There. 

Xanthias  {controlling  himself  with  an  effort). 
Watch  now,  if  you  see  me  even  wince. 

Abacus. 
But  I've  already  hit  you  ! 

Xanthias. 

I  think  not. 

Abacus. 
Upon  my  word,  it  looks  as  if  I  hadn't. 
Well,  now  I'll  go  and  whack  the  other. 

[Strikes  Dionysus. 

Dionvsus  {also  controlling  himself). 

When  ? 
Abacus. 
I've  done  it. 

Dionysus  {with  an  air  of  indifference). 
Odd,  it  didn't  make  me  sneeze  ! 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  51 

Aeacus. 

It  is  odd  !— Well,  I'll  try  the  first  again. 

[He  crosses  to  Xanthias. 

Xanthias. 
All  right.     Be  quick.     {The  blow  falls)  Whe-ev/  ! 

Aeacus. 

Ah,  why  "  whe-ew  "  ? 
It  didn't  hurt  you  ? 

Xanthias  [recovering  himself). 

No  ;  I  just  was  thinking 
When  my  Diomean  Feast  would  next  be  due. 

Aeacus. 

A  holy  thought !— I'll  step  across  again. 

[Strikes  Dionysus,  who  howls. 

Dionysus. 

Ow-ow  I 

Aeacus. 

What's  that  ? 

Dionysus  {recovering  himself). 

I  saw  some  cavalry. 

Aeacus. 
What  makes  your  eyes  run  ? 

Dionysus. 

There's  a  smell  of  onions  ! 

Aeacus. 
You're  sure  it  didn't  hurt  you  ? 


52  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

Dionysus. 

Hurt  ?     Not  it. 
Aeacus. 

I'll  step  across  again  then  to  the  first  one. 

[^Strikes  Xanthias,  who  also  howls, 

Xa  NTH  IAS. 

Hi-i ! 

Aeacus. 

What  is  it  now  ? 

Xanthias. 

Take  out  that  thorn. 
[Pointing  to  his  foot, 
Aeacus. 

What  does  it  mean  ? — Over  we  go  again. 

[Strikes  Dionysus. 
Dionysus 

(hurriedly  turning  his  wail  into  a  line  of  poetry), 
O  Lord  !  ..."  of  Dclos  or  of  Pytho's  rock." 

Xanthias  [triumphantly). 
It  hurts.     You  heard  ? 

Dionysus. 

It  doesn't !     I  was  saying 
A  verse  of  old  Hipponax  to  myself. 

Xanthias. 
You're  making  nothing  of  it.     Hit  him  hard 
Across  the  soft  parts  underneath  the  ribs. 

Aeacus  {to  Xanthias). 

A  good  idea  !     Turn  over  on  your  back  ! 

[Strikes  him. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  53 

Xanthias  {as  before), 

O  Lord  ! 

Dionysus. 

It  hurts  ! 

Xanthias  {as  though  continuing), 

"  Poseidon  ruler  free 
Of  cliffs  Aegean  and  the  grey  salt  sea." 

Abacus. 

Now,  by  Demeter,  it's  beyond  my  powers  ^ 
To  tell  which  one  of  you's  a  god  !— Come  iii^ 
We'll  ask  my  master.     He  and  Persephassa 
Will  easily  know  you,  being  gods  themselves. 

Dionysus. 
Most  wisely  said.     Indeed  I  could  have  wished 
You'd  thought  of  that  before  you  had  me  swished. 

[They  all  go  into  the  house.     The  Chorus,  left 
alone  on  the  stage^  turns  towards  the  audience. 

Chorus.    ^<x^a-^-c-cx^ 
Semi-Chorus  I,    i-  O-dLiL. 
Draw  near,  O  Muse,  to  the  spell  of  my  song, 

Set  foot  in  the  sanctified  place. 
And  see  thy  faithful  Athenians  throng. 
To  whom  the  myriad  arts  belong. 
The  myriad  marks  of  grace. 

Greater  than  Cleophon's  own. 

On  whose  lips,  with  bilingual  moan, 

A  swallow  from  Thrace 

Has  taken  his  place 
And  chirps  in  blood-curdling  tone 


54  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

On  tHe  Gibberish  Tree's  thick  branches  high 
As  he  utters  a  nightingale  note, 
A  tumultuous  cry- 
That  he's  certain  to  die 
Even  with  an  equal  vote  ! 


One  of  the  Leaders, 


iS-    <^^qji£^cJ2<^ 


It  behoves  this  sacred  Chorus,  in  its  wisdom  and  its 

bliss, 
To  assist  the   state   with    counsel.      Now   our   first 

advice  is  this  : 
\>^  ^  Let  Athenians  all  stand  equal  ;  penal  laws  be  swept 

away, 
ome  of  us  have  been  misguided,  follov/ing  Phrynichus 

astray  ; 
Now  for  all  of  these,  we  urge  you,  let  full  freedom 

be  decreed 
To  confess  the  cause  that  tripped  them  and  blot  out 

that  old  misdeed. 
Next,  no  man  sliould  live  in  Athens  outcast,  robbed 

of  every  right. 
Shame  it  is  that  low-born  aliens,  just  for  sharing  one 

sea-fight. 
Should   forthwith  become  *  Plataeans '  and  instead  of 

slaves  be  masters — 
(Not  that  in  the  least  I  blame  you  for  thus  meeting 

our  disasters  ; 
No ;  I  pay  respectful  homage  to  the  one  wise  thing 

you've  done)  : 
But  remember  these  men  also,   your  own  kinsmen, 

sire  and  son, 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  55 

Who  have  ofttfmes  fought  beside  you,  spilt  their  blood 

on  many  seas  : 
Grant  for  that  one  fault  the  pardon  which  they  crave 

you  on  their  knees. 
You  whom  Nature  made  for  wisdom,  let  your  ven- 
geance fall  to  sleep  ; 
Greet  as  kinsnien   and  Athenians,   burghers   true   to 

win  and  keep. 
Whosoe'er  will  brave  the  storms  and  fight  for  Athens 

at  your  side  ! 
But  be  sure,  if  still  we  spurn  them,  if  we  wrap  us  in 

our  pride, 
Stand  alone,  with  Athens  tossing  in  the  long  arm 

of  the  waves. 
Men  in  days  to  come  shall  wonder,  and   not  praise 

you  in  your  graves. 

Semi-Chorus  II,      ^ '>^i.  O-dLc 

An'  I  the  make  of  a  man  may  trow, 

And  the  ways  that  lead  to  a  fall, 
Not  long  will  the  ape  that  troubles  us  now, 
Not  long  little  Cleigenes — champion,  I  vow, 
Of  rascally  washermen  all, 

Who  hold  over  soap  their  sway 
And  lye  and  Cimolian  clay, 

(Which  they  thriftily  mix 

With  the  scrapings  of  bricks) — 
Not  long  will  our  little  one  stay  ! 
Oh,  'tis  well  he  is  warlike  and  ready  to  kick 

For  if  once  home  from  supper  he  trotted. 
Talking  genially  thick 
And  without  his  big  stick. 

We  should  probably  find  him  garotted. 


56  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Lj^^'^^'-^^^a^^^^^^^^  The  Other  Leader,      ^  yxji  ^Jojbiji^ 
It  has  often  struck  our  notice  that  the  course  our  city 

runs 
Is  the  same  towards  men  and  money. — She  has  true 

and  worthy  sons  :  t/ OT"*-**-*^*!^'**-^ 

She  has  good  and  ancient  silver,  she  has  good  and! 

recent  gold. 
These  are  coins  untouched  with  alloys ;  everywhere 

their  fame  is  told  ; 
Not  all  Hellas  holds  their  equal,  not  all  Barbary  far 

and  near. 
Gold   or   silver,   each    well   minted,   tested  each  and 

ringing  clear. 
Yet,  we  never  use  them  !     Others  always  pass  from 

hand  to  hand. 
Sorry  brass  just  struck  last  week  and  branded  with  a 

wretched  brand. 
So  with  men  we  know   for   upright,    blameless  lives 

and  noble  names, 
Trained  in  music  and  palaestra,  freemen's  choirs  and 

freemen's  games. 
These   we    spurn   for    men   of   brass,    for    red-haired 

things  of  unknown  breed. 
Rascal  cubs  of  mongrel  fathers — them  we  use  at  every 

need  ! 
Creatures   just    arrived    in   Athens,   whom   our   city, 

years  ago. 
Scarcely  would  have  used  as  scapegoats  to  be  slaugh- 
tered for  a  show  ! 
Even  now,  O  race  demented,  there  is  time  to  change 

your  ways  ; 
Use  once  more  what's  worth  the  using.     If  we  'scape, 

the  more  the  praise 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  57 

That  we  fought  our  fight  with  wisdom  ;  or,  if  all  is 

lost  for  good, 
Let  the  tree  on  which  they  hang  us,  be,  at  least,  of 

decent  wood  ! 


[The  door  opens,  and  the  two  slaves,  Abacus  and 
Xanthias,  return. 

Aeacus. 

By  Zeus,  that's  what  I  call  a  gentleman  I 
That  master  of  yours  ! 

Xanth\as. 

'^Gentleman  ?     That  he  is  ! 
There'*s  nothing  in  his  head  but  wine  and  wenches  ! 

Aeacus. 

But  not  to  whip  you  when  you  were  clean  convicted, 
A  slave  caught  masquerading  as  his  master  ! 

Xanthias  {significantly), 
I'd  like  to  see  him  try  it ! 

Aeacus. 

There  you  go  ! 
The  old  slave  trick,  that  I'm  so  fond  of  too.      rv/ 

Xanthias, 
You  like  it,  eh  ? 

Aeacus. 

Like  it  ?  Why,  when  I  get  > 
Behind  my  master's  back  and  quietly  curse  him,") 
I  feel  just  like  the  Blessed  in  the  Mysteries  ! 


S8  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Xanthias. 

What  about  muttering  as  you  go  outside 
After  a  whacking  ? 

Abacus. 

Yes  ;  I  like  that  too. 

Xanthias  {with  increasing  excitement)* 
And  prying  into  people's  secrets,  eh  ? 

Aeacus  {the  same). 
By  Zeus,  there'^s  nothing  like  it  in  the  world  ! 

Xanthias. 

Oh,  Zeus  makes  brethren  meet ! — And  what  of  list'ning 
To  what  the  masters  say  ? 

Abacus. 

It  makes  me  mad  ! 

Xanthias. 
And  telling  every  word  of  it  to  strangers  ? 

Abacus. 
Madder  than  mad,  stark  staring  crimson  madder  1 

Xanthias. 

O  Lord  Apollo,  clap  your  right  hand  there, 
Give  me  your  cheek  to  kiss,  and  you  kiss  me  ! 

{They  embrace  ;  a  loud  noise  is  heard  inside  the 
house. 
But  Zeus  ! — our  own  Zeus  of  the  Friendly  Jailbirds— 
What  is  that  noise  . . .  those  shouts  and  quarrelling , . 
Inside  ? 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  59 

Aeacus. 
That  ?     Aeschylus  and  Euripides  I 

Xanthias. 
Eh? 

Aeacus. 


Yes  ;  there's  a  big  business  just  astir,      "f^ 
nong  all  the 

Xanthias. 


And  hot  dissension  among  all  the  dead. 


About  what  ? 

Aeacus. 

There''s  a  law  established  here 
Concerning  all  the  large  and  liberal  arts, 
Which  grants  the  foremost  master  in  each  art 
Free  entertainment  at  the  Central  Hearth, 
And  also  a  special  throne  in  Pluto''s  row  ,  .   . 

Xanthias. 
Oh,  now  I  understand  ! 

Aeacus. 

To  hold  until 
There  comes  one  greater  ;  then  he  must  make  way. 

Xanthias. 
But  how  has  this  affected  Aeschylus  ? 

Aeacus. 

Aeschylus  held  the  throne  oflragedy, 
As  greatest  .  .  . 

Xanthias. 

Held  it  ?     Why,  who  holds  it  now  ? 


\; 


60  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Abacus. 
Well,  when  Euripides  came  down,  he  gave 
Free  exhibitions  to  our  choicest  thieves, 
Footpads,  cut-purses,  burglars,  father-beaters, 
— Of  whom  we  have  numbers  here ;  and  when  they 

heard 
The  neat  retorts,  the  fencing,  and  the  twists, 
They    all    went    mad    and    thought    him    something 

splendid. 
And  he,  growing  proud,  laid  hands  upon  the  throne 
Where  Aeschylus  sat.  N 

Xanthias. 

And  wasn"'t  pelted  off? 

Abacus. 
Not  he.     The  whole  folk  clamoured  for  a  trial 
To  see  which  most  was  master  of  his  craft. 

Xanthias. 
The  whole  jail- folk  ? 

Abacus. 

Exactly  ; — loud  as  trumpets. 

Xanthias. 
And  were  there  none  to  fight  for  Aeschylus  ?         m 

Abacus.  ^ 

"oodness  is  scarce,  you  know.     [Indicating  tk£  audi 
ence)  The  same  as  here  !  J) 

Xanthias. 
And  what  does  Pluto  mean  to  do  about  ii  ( 

Abacus. 
Why,  hold  a  trial  and  contest  on  the  spot 
To  test  their  skill  for  certain. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  6i 

Xanthias  [reflecting). 

But,  I  say, 
Sophocles  surely  must  have  claimed  the  throne  ? 

Abacus. 
Not  he  ;  as  soon  as  ever  he  came  down. 
He  kissed  old  Aeschylus,  and  wrung  his  hand, 
And  Aeschylus  made  room  on  half  his  seat. 
And  now  he  means  to  wait — or  so,  at  least, 
Clidemides  informs  us — in  reserve. 
If  Aeschylus  wins  the  day,  he'll  rest  content : 
If  not,  why  then,  he  says,  for  poor  Art's  sake. 
He  must  show  fight  against  Euripides  ! 

Xanthias, 
It  is  to  be,  then  ? 

Abacus. 

Certainly,  quite  soon. 
Just  where  you  stand  well  have  the  shock  of  v/ar. 
They'll  weigh  the  poetry  line  by  line  .  .  . 

Xanthias, 

Poor  thing, 
A  lamb  set  in  the  meat-scale  and  found  wanting  ! 

Abacus. 
They'll  bring  straight-edges  out,  and  cubit-rules, 
And  folded  cube-frames  .  .  . 

Xanthias, 

Is  it  bricks  they  want  ? 

Abacus. 
And  mitre-squares  and  wedges  !     Line  by  line 
Euripides  will  test  all  tragedies  ! 


62  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Xanthias. 
That  must  make  Aeschylus  angry,  I  should  think  ? 

Abacus. 
Well,  he  did  stoop  and  glower  like  a  mad  bull. 

Xanthias. 

Who'll  be  the  judge  ? 

Aeacus. 

That  was  a  difficulty. 
Both  found  an  utter  dearth  of  proper  critics ; 
For  Aeschylus  objected  to  the  Athenians.  ... 

Xanthias. 
Perhaps  he  thought  the  jail-folk  rather  many  ? 

Abacus. 
And  all  the  world  beside,  he  thought  mere  dirt 
At  seeing  what  kind  of  thing  a  poet  was. 
So,  in  the  end,  they  fixed  upon  your  master 
As  having  much  experience  in  the  business. 
But  come  in  ;  when  the  master"*s  face  looks  grave 
There's  mostly  trouble  coming  for  the  slave, 

{^They  go  into  the  house. 

Chorus 
[the  song  ts  a  parody  of  the  metre  and  style  (t/*  Aeschylus). 

Eftsoons  shall  dire  anger  interne  be  the  Thunderer's 
portion 
When  his  foe's  glib  tusk  fresh  whetted  for  blood  he 
descries ; 
Then  fell  shall  his  heart  be,  and  mad  j  and  a  pallid 
distortion 

Descend  as  a  cloud  on  his  eyes. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  63 

Yea,  words  with  plumes  wild  on  the  wind  and  with 
helmets  a-glancing, 
With  axles  a-splinter  and  marble  a-shiver,  eftsoons 
Shall  bleed,  as  a  man  meets  the  shock  of  a  Thought- 
builder's  prancing 

Stanzas  of  dusky  dragoons. 

The  deep  crest  of  his  mane  shall  uprise  as  he  slowly 
unlimbers 
The  long-drawn  wrath  of  his  brow,  and  lets  loose 
with  a  roar 
Epithets  welded  and  screwed,  like  new  torrent-swept 
timbers 

Blown  loose  by  a  giant  at  war. 

Then  rises  the  man  of  the  Mouth  ;  then  battleward 
flashes 
A  tester  of  verses,  a  smooth  and  serpentine  tongue. 
To  dissect  each  phrase  into  mincemeat,  and  argue  to 
ashes 

That  high-towered  labour  of  lung  ! 

The  door  opens  again.     Enter  Euripides,  Dionysus, 
and  Aeschylus. 

Euripides. 

Pray,  no  advice  to  me  !     I  won't  give  way ; 
I  claim  that  I'm  more  master  of  my  art. 

Dionysus. 
You  hear  him,  A  cschylus.     Why  don't  you  speak  r 

Euripides. 
He  wants  to  open  with  an  awful  silence — 
The  blood-curdling  reserve  of  his  first  scenes. 


64  ARISTOPHANES'    FROGS 

Dionysus. 
My  dear  sir,  I  must  beg  !     Control  your  language. 

Euripides. 

I  know  him  ;  IVe  seen  through  him  years  ago  ; 
Bard  of  the  "  noble  savage,"  wooden-mouthed, 
No  door,  no  bolt,  no  bridle  to  his  tongue, 
A  torrent  of  pure  bombast — tied  in  bundles  !  ^ 

Aeschylus  [breaking  out). 

How  say'st  thou.  Son  o'  the  goddess  of  the  Greens  ? — 
You  dare  speak  thus  of  me,  you  phrase-collector, 
Blind-beggar-bard  and  scum  of  rifled  rag-bags  ! 
Oh,  you  shall  rue  it  ! 

Dionysus. 

Stop  !     Stop,  Aeschylus  ; 
Strike  not   thine  heart  to  fire  on  rancour  old. 

Aeschylus. 

No  ;  I'll  expose  this  crutch-and-cripple  playwright. 
And  what  he's  worth  for  all  his  insolence. 

Dionysus  [to  attendants). 

A  lamb,  a  black  lamb,  quick,  boys  !     Bring  it  out 
To  sacrifice  ;  a  hurricane's  let  loose  1 

Aeschylus  (to  Euripides). 

You  and  your  Cretan  dancing-solos  !     You 
And  the  ugly  amours  that  you  set  to  verse  ! 

Dionysus  (interposing). 

One  moment,  please,  most  noble  Aeschylus  ! 
And  you,  poor  wretch,  if  you  have  any  prudence, 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  65 

Get  out  of  the  hailstones  quick,  or  else,  by  Zeus, 
Some  word  as  big  as  your  head  will  catch  you  crash 
Behind  the  ear,  and  knock  out  all  the  .  .  .  Telephus  ! 
Nay,  Aeschylus,  pray,  pray  control  your  anger  ; 
Examine  and  submit  to  be  examined 
With  a  cool  head.     Two  poets  should  not  meet 
In  fishwife  style  ;  but  here  are  you,  straight  off. 
Ablaze  and  roaring  like  an  oak  on  fire. 

Euripides. 
For  my  part  I'm  quite  ready,  with  no  shrinking, 
To  bite  first  or  be  bitten,  as  he  pleases. 
Here  are  my  dialogue,  music,  and  construction  ; 
Here's  Peleus  at  your  service,  Meleager, 
And  Aeolus,  and  .  .  .  yes,  Telephus^  by  all  means  ! 

Dionysus. 
Do  you  consent  to  the  trial,  Aeschylus  ?     Speak. 

Aeschylus. 
I  well  might  take  objection  to  the  place ; 
It's  no  fair  field  for  him  and  me. 

Dionysus. 

Why  not  ? 
Aeschylus. 

Because  my  writings  haven't  died  with  me, 
As  his  have  ;  so  he'll  have  them  all  to  hand.  .  , 
However,  I  waive  the  point,  if  you  think  fit. 

Dionysus. 
Go,  some  one,  bring  me  frankincense  and  fire 
That  I  may  pray  for  guidance,  to  decide 
This  contest  in  the  Muses'  strictest  ways ; 
To  whom,  meantime,  uplift  your  hymn  of  praise  ! 

E 


66  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Chorus 
{while  preparations  are  made  for  the  sacrifice). 

All  hail,  ye  nine  heaven-born  virginal  Muses, 
Whichever  of  ye  watch  o'er  the  manners  and  uses 

Of  the  Founts  of  Quotation,  w^hen,  meeting  in  fray — 
All  hearts  drawn  tense  for  who  wins  and  who  loses — 
With  wrestling  lithe  each  the  other  confuses, 
Look  on  the  pair  that  do  battle  to-day  ! 
These  be  the  men  to  take  poems  apart 

By  chopping,  riving,  sawing  ; 
Here  is  the  ultimate  trial  of  Art 

To  due  completion  drawing  ! 

Dionysus. 
Won't  you  two  pray  before  you  show  your  lines  ? 

Aeschylus  {going  up  to  the  altar), 
Demeter,  thou  who  feedest  all  my  thought, 
Grant  me  but  worthiness  to  worship  thee  ! 

Dionysus  {to  Euripides). 
Won't  you  put  on  some  frankincense  ? 

Euripides  {staying  where  he  is). 

Oh,  thank  you  ; 
The  gods  I  pray  to  are  of  other  metal  1 

Dionysus. 
Your  own  stamp,  eh  ?     New  struck  ? 

Euripides. 

Exactly  so. 
Dionysus. 

Well,  pray  away  then  to  your  own  peculiar. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  67 

Euripides, 

Ether,  whereon  I  batten  !     Vocal  chords  ! 
Reason,  and  nostrils  swift  to  scent  and  sneer, 
Grant  that  I  duly  probe  each  word  I  hear. 

Chorus. 

All  of  us  to  hear  are  yearning 
Further  from  these  twins  of  learning, 
What  dread  road  they  walk,  what  burning 

Heights  they  climb  of  speech  and  song. 
Tongues  alert  for  battle  savage. 
Tempers  keen  for  war  and  ravage, 

Angered  hearts  to  both  belong. 
He  will  fight  with  passes  witty 
Smooth  and  smacking  of  the  city. 

Gleaming  blades  unflecked  with  rust  5 
He  will  seize — to  end  the  matter — 
Tree-trunks  torn  and  clubbed,  to  batter 
Brains  to  bits,  and  plunge  and  scatter 

Whole  arena-fulls  of  dust ! 
[Dionysus  is  now  seated  on   a  throne  as  judge. 
The  poets  stand  on  either  side  before  him, 

Dionysus. 

Now,  quick  to  work.     Be  sure  you  both  do  justice  to 
your  cases. 

Clear  sense,  no  loose  analogies,  and  no  long  common- 
places. 

Euripides. 

A  little  later  I  will  treat  my  own  artistic  mettle. 
This  person's  claims  I  should  prefer  immediately  to 
settle. 


68  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

I'll  show  you  how  he  posed  and  prosed  ;  with  what 

audacious  fooling 
He  tricked  an  audience  fresh  and  green  from  Phryni- 

chus's  schooling. 
Those    sole    veiled    figures    on    the    stage    were    first 

among  his  graces, 
Achilles,  say,  or  Niobe,  who  never  showed  their  faces,-^ 
But  stood  like  so  much  scene-painting,  and  never  a    y 

grunt  they  uttered  ! 

Dionysus. 
Why,  no,  by  Zeus,  no  more  they  did  ! 

Euripides. 

And  on  the  Chorus  spluttered 
Through  long  song-systems,  four  on  end,  the  actors 
mute  as  fishes ! 

Dionysus. 

I  somehow  loved  that  silence,  though  ;  and  felt  it  met 

my  wishes 
As  no  one's  talk  does  nowadays  ! 

Euripides. 

You  hadn't  yet  seen  through  it ! 
That's  all. 

Dionysus. 

I   really  think  you're   right !      But  still, 
what  made  him  do  it  ? 

Euripides. 
The    instinct  of  a  charlatan,  to   keep  the  audience 

guessing 
If  Niobe  ever  meant  to  speak — the  play   meantime 

progressing  ! 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  69 

Dionysus. 
Of  course  it  was  !     The  sly  old  dog,  to  think  of  how 

he  tricked  us  ! — 
Don't  {to  Aeschylus)  ramp  and  fume  ! 

Euripides  [excusing  Aeschylus). 
We're  apt  to  do  so  when  the  facts  convict  us  ! 
— Then    after   this  tomfoolery,   the    heroine,  feeling 

calmer. 
Would  utter  some  twelve  wild-bull  words,  on  mid-way 

in  the  drama. 
Long  ones,  with  crests  and  beetling  brows,  and  gor- 

gons  round  the  border, 
That  no  man  ever  heard  on  earth, 

Aeschylus. 

The  red  plague  .  .  .   ! 

Dionysus. 

Order,  order  ! 
Euripides. 

Intelligible — not  one  line  ! 

Dionysus  {to  Aeschylus). 
Please  !     Won't  your  teeth  stop  gnashing  ? 

Euripides. 
All    fosses    and     Scamander-beds,    and     bloody 

targes  flashing. 
With    gryphon- eagles    bronze-embossed,    and 

crags,  and  riders  reeling. 
Which  somehow  never  quite  joined  on. 

Dionysus. 
By  Zeus,  sir,  quite  my  feeling  I 


70  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

A  question  comes  in  Night's  long  hours,  that 

haunts  me  like  a  spectre, 
What   kind   of    fish    or    fowl   you'd    call   a   "  russet 

hippalector." 

Aeschylus  [breaking  in). 
It  was  a  ship's  sign,  idiot,  such  as  every  joiner  fixes  ! 

Dionysus. 
Indeed  !  I  thought  perhaps  it  meant  that  music-man 

Eryxis  ! 

[Euripides. 

You  like  then,  in  a  tragic  play,  a  cock  ?    You  think  it 
mixes  ?] 

Aeschylus  [to  Euripides). 

And   what  did  you   yourself  produce,   O   fool    with 
pride  deluded  ? 

Euripides. 

Not  "  hippalectors,"  thank  the  Lord,  nor  "  tragelaphs,'' 

as  you  did — 
The   sort    of  ornament   they    use   to   fill   a    Persian 

curtain  ! 
— I  had  the  Drama  straight  from  you,  all  bloated  and 

uncertain,  ^ 

Weighed  down  with  rich  and  heavy  words,  puffed  out7 

past  comprehension.  ^ 

I  took  the  case  in  hand  ;  applied  treatment  for  such 

distension — 
Beetroot,  light  phrases,  little  walks,  hot  book-juice,  and 

cold  reasoning  ;  i 

Then  fed  her  up  on  solos.  1 .  .  . 

Dionysus  [aside). 
With  Cephisophon  for  seasoning  ' 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  71 

Euripides. 

I  didn't  rave  at  random,  or  plunge  in  and  make  con- 
fusions. 

My  first  appearing  character  explained,  with  due 
allusions, 

The  whole  play's  pedigree 

Dionysus  [aside). 
Your  own  you  left  in  wise  obscurity  ! 

Euripides. 

Then  no  one  from  the  start  with  me  could  idle  with 
security.  /^i 

They  had  to  work.     The  men,  the  slaves,  the  women\/^^ 
all  made  speeches,  (  Mr' 

The  kings,  the  little  girls,  the  hags  .  .  .     \i)^ 

Aeschylus. 
Just  see  the  things  he  teaches  I 
And  shouldn't  you  be  hanged  for  that  ? 


fi 


It's  democratic  ! 


Euripides. 

No,  by  the  lord  Apollo  1 


Dionysus  [to  Euripides). 

That's  no  road  for  you,  my  friend,  to  follow  ; 
You'll  find  the  *  little  walk '  too  steep  ;  I  recommend 
you  quit  it. 

Euripides. 

Next,  I  taught  all  the  town  to  talk  with  freedom. 

Aeschylus. 

I  admit  it. 


72  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

'Twere  better,  ere  you  taught  them,  you  had  died 
amid  their  curses ! 

Euripides. 
I  gave  them  canons  to  apply  and  squares  for  marking 

verses  ; 
Taught  them  to  see,  think,  understand,  to  scheme  for 

what  they  wanted. 
To  fall  in  love,  think  evil,  question  all  things.  .  .  . 

Aeschylus. 

Granted,  granted  ! 
Euripides. 

I  put  things  on  the  stage  that  came  from  daily  life  and 

business. 
Where  men  could  catch  me  if  I  tripped  ;  could  listen 

without  dizziness 
To  things  they  knew,  and  judge   my  art.     1   never 

crashed  and  lightened 
And   bullied  people's  senses  out  j  nor  tried  to  keep 

them  frightened 
With  Magic  Swans  and  Aethiop  knights,  loud  barb 

and  clanging  vizor  ! 
Then    look    at    my    disciples,    too,    and    mark    what 

creatures  his  are  1 
Phormisius    is    his    product    and    the    looby    lump 

Megainetus, 
All  trumpet,  lance,  moustache,  and  glare,  who  twist 

their  clubs  of  pine  at  us  ; 
While  Cleitophon  is  mine,  sirs,  and  Theramenes  the 

Matchless  I 

Dionysus. 

Theramenes !      Ah,   that's  the    man  I       All    danger 
leaves  him  scratchless. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  73 

His  friends  may  come  to  grief,  and  he  be  found  in 

awkward  fixes, 
But  always  tumbles  right  end  up,  not  aces — no  :  all 

sixes  ! 

Euripides. 

This  was  the  kind  of  lore  I  brought 

To  school  my  town  in  ways  of  thought ; 

I  mingled  reasoning  with  my  art 

And  shrewdness,  till  Ifiredtheir  heart 

To  brood,  to  thinl^hings^through  and  through  ; 

And  rule  their  houses  better,  too. 

Dionysus. 

Yes,  by  the  powers,  that's  very  true  ! 
No  burgher  now,  who  comes  indoors, 
But  straight  looks  round  the  house  and  roars 
"  Where  is  the  saucepan  gone  ?     And  who 

Has  bitten  that  sprat's  head  away  ? 
And,  out,  alas  !  The  earthen  pot 
I  bought  last  year,  is  not,  is  not ! 

Where  are  the  leeks  of  yesterday  ? 

And  who  has  gnawed  this  olive,  pray  ? " 
Whereas,  before  they  took  his  school, 
Each  sat  at  home,  a  simple,  cool, 
Religious,  unsuspecting  fool. 

And  happy  in  his  sheep-like  way! 


Chorus. 

Great  Achilles,  gaze  around  thee  I 
'Twill  astound  thee  and  confound  thee. 
Answer  now  :  but  keep  in. bound  the 


74  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Words  that  off  the  course  would  tear, 
Bit  in  teeth,  in  turmoil  flocking. 
Yes  :  it's  monstrous — shameful — shocking- 
Brave  old  warrior.     But  beware  ! 

Don't  retort  with  haste  or  passion  ; 
Meet  the  squalls  in  sailor  fashion, 

Mainsail  reefed  and  mast  nigh  bare  j 
Then,  when  safe  beyond  disaster 
You  may  press  him  fiercer,  faster, 
Close  and  show  yourself  his  master. 

Once  the  wind  is  smooth  and  fair  I 


Dionysus, 

0  thou  who  first  of  the  Greeks  did  build  great  words 

to  heaven-high  towers, 
And  the  essence  of  tragedy-padding  distilled,  give  vent 
to  thy  pent-up  showers. 

Aeschylus. 

1  freely  admit  that  I  take  it  amiss,  and  I  think  my 

anger  is  just. 
At   having   to   answer  a  man  like  this.     Still,  lest  I 

should  seem  nonplussed. 
Pray,  tell  me  on  what  particular  ground  a  poet  should 

claim  admiration  ? 

Euripides. 

If  his  art  is  trus^  and  his  counsel  SQund  ;  and  if  he 
brings  help  to  the  nation^  / 

By  making  men  better  in  some  respect. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  75 

Aeschylus. 

And  suppose  you  have  done  the  reverse, 
And  have  had  upon  good  strong  men  the  effect  of 

making  them  weaker  and  worse, 
What,  do  you  say,  should  your  recompense  be  ? 

Dionysus. 
The  gallows  !     You  needn't  ask  him. 

Aeschylus. 

Well,  think  what  they  were  when  he  had  them  from 

mc  !     Good  six-footers,  solid  of  limb, 
Well-born,  well-bred,  not  ready  to  fly  from  obeying 

their  country's  call. 
Nor  in  latter-day  fashion  to  loiter  and  lie,  and  keep 

their  consciences  small ; 
Their  life  was  in  shafts  of  ash  and  of  elm,  in  bright 

plumes  fluttering  wide. 
In  lance  and  greaves  and  corslet  and  helm,  and  hearts 

of  seven-fold  hide  1 

Euripides  [aside). 

Oh,  now  he's  begun  and  will  probably  run  a  whole 

armourer's  shop  on  my  head  ! 
[To  Aeschylus)  Stop  !     How  was  it  due  in  especial 

to  you,  if  they  were  so  very — well-bred  ? 

Dionysus. 

Come,  answer  him,  Aeschylus  !     Don't  be  so  hot,  or 
smoulder  in  silent  disdain. 

Aeschylus  [crushingly). 
By  a  tragedy  *  brimming  with  Ares  ! ' 


76  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Dionysus. 

A  what  ? 

Aeschylus. 

The  *  Seven  against  Thebes.' 

Dionysus. 

Pray  explain. 
Aeschylus. 

There  wasn't   a   man    could    see    that    play  but  he 
hungered  for  havoc  and  gore. 

Dionysus. 
I'm  afraid  that  tells  in   the  opposite  way.     For  the 

Thebans  profited  more, 
It  urged  them  to  fight  without  flinching  or  fear,  and 

they  did  so  ;  and  long  may  you  rue  it ! 

Aeschylus. 
The  same  thing  was  open  to  all  of  you  here,  but  it 

didn't  amuse  you  to  do  it  ! 
Then  next  I  taught  you  for  glqixto  long,  and  against 

all  odds  stand  fast ; 
That  was  "  The  rersians,"  which  bodied  in  song  the 

noblest  deed  of  the  past. 

Dionysus. 

Yes,  yes !     When   Darius  arose   from  the    grave  it 

gave  me  genuine  joy, 
And   the   Chorus  stood   with   its  arms   a- wave,  and 

observed,  "  Yow — oy,  Yow — oy  ! " 

Aeschylus. 

Yes,  that's  the  effect  for  a  play  to  produce  !     For 
observe,  from  the  world's  first  start 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  l^'yy 

Those  poets  have  all  been  of  practical  use  who  have 

been  supreme  in  their  art. 
First,  Orpheus  withheld  us  from  bloodshed  impure, 

and  vouchsafed  us  the  great  revelation  ; 
Musaeus  was  next,  with  wisdom  to  cure  diseases  and 

teach  divination. 
Then  Hesiod  showed  us  the  season  to  plough,  to  sow, 

and  to  reap.     And  the  laurels 
That  shine  upon  Homer's  celestial  brow  are  equally 

due  to  his  morals  ! 
He  taught  men  to  stand,  to  march,  and  to  arm.  ... 

Dionysus. 

So  that  was  old  Homer's  profession  ? 
Then  I  wish  he  could  keep  his  successors  from  harm, 

like  Pantacles  in  the  procession. 
Who  first  got  his  helmet  well  strapped  on  his  head, 

and  then  tried  to  put  in  the  plume  ! 

Aeschylus. 

There  be  many  brave  men  that  he  fashioned  and  bred, 

like  Lamachus,  now  in  his  tomb. 
And  in  his  great  spirit  my  plays  had  a  part,  with  their 

heroes  many  and  brave — 
Teucers,  Patrocluses,  lions  at  heart ;  who  made  my 

citizens  crave 
To  dash  like  them  at  the  face  of  the  foe,  and  leap  at 

the  call  of  a  trumpet  ! — 
But  no  Stheneboia  I've  given  you,  no  ;  no  Phaedra, 

no  heroine-strumpet ! 
If  I've  once  put  a  woman  in  love  in  one  act  of  one 

play,  may  my  teaching  be  scouted  ! 


yS  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

Euripides. 
No,  you  hadn't  exactly  the  style  to  attract  Aphrodite  ! 

Aeschylus. 

Pm  better  without  it. 
A  deal  too  much  of  that  style  she  found  in  some  of 

your  friends  and  you, 
And  once,  at  the  least,  left  you  flat  on  the  ground  ! 

Dionysus. 

By  Zeus,  that's  perfectly  true. 
If  he  dealt  his  neighbours  such   rattling   blows,   we 
must  think  how  he  sufl'ered  in  person. 

Euripides. 
And  what  are  the  public  defects  you  suppose  my  poor 
Stheneboia  to  worsen  ? 

Aeschylus  [evading  the  question  with  a  jest). 
She  makes  good  women,  and  good  men's  wives,  when 

their  hearts  are  weary  and  want  ease, 
Drink  jorums  of  hemlock  and  finish  their  lives,  to 

gratify  Bellerophontes  1 

Euripides. 
But  did  I  invent  the  story  I  told  of — Phaedra,  say  ? 
Wasn't  it  history  ? 

Aeschylus. 
It  was  true,  right  enough  ;  but  the  poet  should  hold 

such  a  truth  enveloped  in  mystery. 
And  not  represent  it  or  make  it  a  play.     It's  his  duty 

tojteach,  and  you  know  it. 
As  a  child  learns  from  all  who  may  come  in  his  way, 

so  the  grown  world  learns  from  the  poet. 
Oh,  words  of  good  counsel  should  flow  from  his  voice— 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  79 

Euripides. 

And  words  like  Mount  Lvcabettus 
Or  Parnes,  such  as  you  give  us  for  choice,  must  needs 

be  good  counsel  ? — Oh,  let  us. 
Oh,  let  us  at  least  use  the  language  of  men  ! 

Aeschylus. 

Flat  cavil,  sir  !  cavil  absurd  ! 
When  the  subject  is  great  and  the  sentiment,  then,  of 

necessity,  great  grows  the  word  ; 
When  heroes  give  range  to  their  hearts,  is  it  strange 

if  the  speech  of  them  over  us  towers  ? 
Nay,  the  garb  of  them  too  must  be  gorgeous  to  view, 

and  majestical,  nothing  like  ours. 
All  this  I  saw,  and  established  as  law,  till  you  came 

and  spoilt  it. 

Euripides. 

How  so  ? 

Aeschylus. 

You  wrapped  them  in  rags  from  old  beggarmen's  bags, 

to  express  their  heroical  woe, 
And  reduce  the  spectator  to  tears  of  compassion  ! 

Euripides. 
•  Well,  what  was  the  harm  if  I  did  ? 

Aeschylus  [evading  the  question  as  before). 

Bah,  your  modern  rich  man  has  adopted  the  fashion, 
for  remission  of  taxes  to  bid  ; 

"  He  couldn^t  provide  a  trireme  if  he  tried  ; "  he  im- 
plores us  his  state  to  behold. 


8o  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Dionysus. 

Though  rags  outside  may  very  well  hide  good  woollens 

beneath,  if  it'*s  cold  1 
And  when  once  he's  exempted,  he  gaily  departs  and 

pops  up  at  the  Fishmongers'  stalls. 

Aeschylus  {continuing). 

Then,  next,  you  have  trained  in  the  speechmaking 

arts  nigh  every  infant  that  crawls. 
Oh,  this  is  the  thing  that  such  havoc  has  wrought  in 

the  wrestling-school,  narrowed  the  hips 
Of  the  poor  pale  chattering  children,  and  taught  the 

crews  of  the  pick  of  the  ships 
To  answer  back  pat  to   their  officer's  nose  !     How 

unlike  my  old  sailor  of  yore, 
With  no  thought  in  his  head  but  to  guzzle  his  brose 

and  sing  as  he  bent  at  the  oar  1 

Dionysus. 

And  spit  on  the  heads  of  the  rowers  below,  and  garott 

stray  lubbers  on  shore  1 
But  our  new  man  just  sails  where  it  happens  to  blow, 

and  argues,  and  rows  no  more  ! 

Aeschylus. 

What  hasn"'t  he  done  that  is  under  the  sun. 
And    the    love-dealing    dames    that   with    him    have 
begun  ? 

One's  her  own  brother's  wife  ; 

One  says  Life  is  not  Life  ; 
And  one  goes  into  shrines  to  give  birth  to  a  son  ! 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  8i 

Our  city  through  him  is  filled  to  the  brim 
With  monkeys  who  chatter  to  every  one's  whim  ; 
Little  scriveners'  clerks 
With  their  winks  and  their  larks, 
But  for  wrestle  or  race  not  a  muscle  in  trim  ! 

Dionysus. 
Not  a  doubt  of  it !     Why,  I  laughed  fit  to  cry 
At  the  Panathenaea,  a  man  to  espy. 

Pale,  flabby,  and  fat. 

And  bent  double  at  that, 
Puffing  feebly  behind,  with  a  tear  in  his  eye  ; 

Till  there  in  their  place,  with  cord  and  with  brace. 
Were  the  Potters  assembled  to  quicken  his  pace  ; 

And  down  they  came,  whack  1 

On  sides,  belly,  and  back. 
Till  he  blew  out  his  torch  and  just  fled  from  the  race  ! 


Chorus. 
Never  were  such  warriors,  never 

Prize  so  rich  and  feud  so  keen  : 
Dangerous,  too,  such  knots  to  sever  : 
He  drives  on  with  stern  endeavour, 
He  falls  back,  but  rallies  ever, 

Marks  his  spot  and  stabs  it  clean  ! 

Change  your  step,  though  !     Do  not  tarry 
Other  ways  there  be  to  harry 

Old  antagonists  in  art. 
Show  whatever  sparks  you  carry, 
Question,  answer,  thrust  and  parry — 
Be  they  new  or  ancient,  marry, 

Let  them  fly,  well-winged  and  smart ! 

F 


82  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

If  you  fear,  from  former  cases, 

That  the  audience  p'raps  may  fail 

To  appreciate  your  paces 

Your  allusions  and  your  graces, 

Look  a  moment  in  their  faces  ! 
They  will  tell  another  tale. 

Oft  from  long  campaigns  returning 
Thro'  the  devious  roads  of  learning 

These  have  wandered,  books  in  hand 
Nature  gave  them  keen  discerning 
Eyes  ;  and  you  have  set  them  burning  ! 
Sharpest  thought  or  deepest  yearning —  ^  ^-^ 

Speak,  and  these  will  understand. 


Euripides. 

Quite  so  ;  I'll  turn  then  to  his  Prologues  straight, 
And  make  in  that  first  part  of  tragedy 
My  first  review  in  detail  of  this  Genius  ! 
[His  exposition  always  was  obscure.] 

Dionysus. 
Which  one  will  you  examine  ! 

Euripides. 

Which  ?     Oh,  lots  ! 
First  quote  me  that  from  the  Oresteia,  please. 

Dionysus. 
Ho,  silence  in  the  court  !     Speak,  Aeschylus. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  83 

Aeschylus  {quoting  the  first  lines  of  the  Choephoroi). 

"  Guide  of  the  Dead,  warding  a  father's  way, 
Be  thou  my  light  and  saviour,  where  I  pray, 
In  this  my  fatherland,  returned,  restored." 

Dionysus  [to  Euripides). 
You  find  some  false  lines  there  ? 

Euripides. 

About  a  dozen  ! 
Dionysus. 

Whyj  altogether  there  are  only  three  ! 

Euripides. 

But  every  one  has  twenty  faults  in  drawing  !S 

[Aeschylus  begins  tc  interrupt, 

Dionysus. 

No,  stop,  stop,  Aeschylus  ;  or  perhaps  you'll  find 
Your  debts  run  up  to  more  than  three  iambics. 

Aeschylus  {raging). 
Stop  to  let  him  speak  ? 

Dionysus. 

Well,  that'^s  my  advice. 

Euripides. 
He's  gone  straight  off  some  thousand  miles  astray* 

Aeschylus. 

Of  course  it''s  foolery — but  what  do  /  care  ? 
Point  out  the  faults. 


84  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

Euripides. 
Repeat  the  lines  again, 

Aeschylus. 
"  Guide  of  the  Dead,  warding  a  father's  way, 

Euripides. 
Orestes  speaks  those  words,  I  take  it,  standing 
On  his  dead  father's  tomb  ? 

Aeschylus. 

I  don''t  deny  it. 

Euripides. 
Then  what's  the  father's  way  that  Hermes  ward^? 
Is  it  the  way  Orestes'  father  went. 
To  darkness  by  a  woman's  dark  intent? 

Aeschylus. 
No,  no  !     He  calls  on  Eriounian  Hermes, 
Guide  of  the  Dead,  and  adds  a  word  to  say 
That  office  is  derived  from  Hermes'  father. 

Euripides. 
That's  worse  than  I  supposed  !     For  if  your  Hermes 
Derives  his  care  of  dead  men  from  his  father,  .  .  , 

Dionysus  {interrupting). 
Why,  resurrectioning's  the  family  trade  ! 

Aeschylus. 
Dionysus,  dull  of  fragrance  is  thy  wine! 

Dionysus. 
Well,  say  the  next ;  and  {to  Euripides)  you  look  out 
for  slips. 


ARISTOPHANES*   FROGS  85 

Aeschylus. 

"Be  thou  my  light  and  saviour  where  I  pray 
In  this  my  fatherland  returned,  restored." 

Euripides. 
Our  noble  Aeschylus  repeats  himself. 

Dionysus. 
How  so  ? 

Euripides. 

Observe  his  phrasing,  and  you'll  see. 
First  to  this  land  "  returned  "  and  then  "  restored  7  : 
'  Returned  '  is  just  the  same  thing  as  ^  restored.'      ) 

Dionysus.  ,  k^ 

Why,  yes  !     It's  just  as  if  you  asked  your  neighbaun/ 
'  Lend  me  a  pail,  or,  if  not  that,  a  bucket.'  s_3    ' 

Aeschylus. 

Oh,  too  much  talking  has  bemuzzed  your  brain  ! 
The  words  are  not  the  same  ;  the  Hne  is  perfect. 

Dionysus. 
Now,  is  it  really  ?     Tell  me  how  you  mean. 

Aeschylus. 

Returning  home  is  the  act  of  any  person 

Who  has  a  home  ;  he  comes  back,  nothing  more  ; 

An  exile  both  returns  and  is  restored  ! 

Dionysus. 

True,  by  Apollo  !     {To  Euripides)  What  do  you  say 
to  that  ? 


86  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

Euripides.  y 

I  don't  admit  Orestes  was  restored.  ^   )j 

He  came  in  secret  with  no  legal  permit.        A^    .yp 

Dionysus.      ^^^  tW^       ^^ 
By  Hermes,  yes  !  {aside)  I  wonder  what  they  mean  ! 

Euripides, 
Go  on  then  to  the  next.  [Aeschylus  is  silent, 

Dionysus. 

Come,  Aeschylus, 

Do  as  he  says  :  [to  Euripides)  and  you  look  out  for 

faults. 

Aeschylus. 

"  Yea,  on  this  bank  of  death,  I  call  my  lord 
To  hear  and  list.  ..." 

Euripides. 

Another  repetitionj. 
"  To  hear  and  list " — the  same  thing  palpably  ! 

Dionysus. 

The  man  was  talking  to  the  dead,  you  dog, 

Who  are  always  called  three  times — and  then  don't 

hear. 

Aeschylus. 

Come,  how  did  you  write  prologues  ? 

Euripides. 

Oh,  I'll  show  you. 
And  if  you  find  there  any  repetitions 
Or  any  irrelevant  padding, — spit  upon  me  I 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  87 

Dionysus. 

Oh,  do  begin.     I  mustn't  miss  those  prologues 
In  all  their  exquisite  exactitude  ! 

Euripides. 
'*  At  first  was  Oedipus  in  happy  state." 

Aeschylus. 

He  wasn't  !     He  was  born  and  bred  in  misery,      y 
Did  not  Apollo  doom  him  still  unborn 
To  slay  his  father  ?  .  .  . 

Dionysus  {aside). 

His  poor  unborn  father  ? 

Aeschylus. 
"  A  happy  state  at  first,"  you  call  it,  do  you  ? 

Euripides  {contemptuously  resuming), 

"  At  first  was  Oedipus  in  happy  state,  C 

Then  changed  he,  and  became  most  desolate.^ 

Aeschylus. 

He  didn't.     He  was  never  anything  else  ! 

Why,  he  was  scarcely  born  when  they  exposed  him 

In  winter,  in  a  pot,  that  he  might  never 

Grow  up  and  be  his  father's  murderer. 

Then  off  he  crawled  to  Polybus  with  sore  feet, 

Then  married  an  old  woman,  twice  his  age, 

Who  further  chanced  to  be  his  mother,  then 

Tore  out  his  eyes  :  the  lucky  dog  he  was  1 


88  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Dionysus. 

At  least  he  fought  no  sea-fight  with  a  colleague 
Called  Erasinides  1 

Euripides. 

That's  no  criticism. 
I  write  my  prologues  singularly  well ! 

Aeschylus. 

By  Zeus,  I  won't  go  pecking  word  by  word 

At  every  phrase  ;  I'll  take  one  little  oil-can,  j^-  \ 

God  helping  me,  and  send  your  prologues  pop  !      ^i/J 

Euripides. 
My  prologues  pop  .  .  .  with  oil-cans  ? 

Aeschylus. 

Just  one  oil-can  ] 
You  write  them  so  that  nothing  comes  amiss. 
The  bed-quilt,  or  the  oil-can,  or  the  clothes-bag. 
All  suit  your  tragic  verse  !     Wait  and  I'll  prove  it, 

Euripides. 
You'll  prove  it  ?     Really  ? 

Aeschylus. 
Yes. 

Dionysus. 

Begin  to  quote. 
Euripides. 

"  Aegyptus,  so  the  tale  is  spread  afar, 
With  fifty  youths  fled  in  a  sea-borne  car, 
But,  reaching  Argos  ..." 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  89 

Aeschylus. 

Found  his  oil-can  gone  ! 

Dionysus. 
What's  that  about  the  oil-can  !     Drat  the  thing  ! 
Quote  him  another  prologue,  and  let's  see. 

Euripides. 
"  Dionysus,  who  with  wand  and  fawn-skin  dight 
On  great  Parnassus  races  in  the  light 
Of  lamps  far-flashing,  ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found  his  oil-can  gone  ! 

Dionysus. 
Alas!  again  the  oil-can  finds  our  heart! 

Euripides  {beginning  to  reflect  anxiously). 

Oh,  it  won't  come  to  much,  though  I    Here's  another, 
With  not  a  crack  to  stick  the  oil-can  in  ! 
"  No  man  hath  bliss  in  full  and  flawless  health  ; 
Lo,  this  one  hath  high  race,  but  little  wealth  ; 
That,  base  in  blood,  hath  ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found  his  oil- can  gone  ! 

Dionysus. 


Euripides  I 

Well .? 


Euripides. 
Dionysus. 


Better  furl  your  sails  ; 
This  oil-can  seems  inclined  to  raise  the  wind  ! 


90  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Euripides. 

Bah,  I  disdain  to  give  a  thought  to  it ! 
ril  dash  it  from  his  hands  in  half  a  minute. 

\_He  racks  his  memory. 

Dionysus. 
Well,  quote  another  ; — and  beware  of  oil-cans. 

Euripides. 

^'  Great  Cadmus  long  ago,  Agenor's  son, 
From  Sidon  racing,  ..." 

Aeschylus.  -. 

Found  his  oil- can  goneU 

Dionysus. 

Oh,  this  is  awful  !     Buy  the  thing  outright, 
Before  it  messes  every  blessed  prologue  1 

Euripides. 
I  buy  him  off? 

Dionysus. 
I  strongly  recommend  it. 

Euripides. 

No  ;  I  have  many  prologues  yet  to  cite 
Where  he  can't  find  a  chink  to  pour  his  oil, 
"  As  rapid  wheels  to  Pisa  bore  him  on, 
Tantalian  Pelops  ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found  his  oil-can  gone  ! 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  91 

Dionysus. 

What  did  I  tell  you  ?     There  it  sticks  again  !^ 
You  might  let  Pelops  have  a  new  one,  thougl 
You  get  quite  good  ones  very  cheap  just  now. 

Euripides. 

By  Zeus,  not  yet  !     I  still  have  plenty  left. 
"From  earth  King  Oineus,  ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found  his  oil-can  gone  ! 

Euripides. 

You  must  first  let  me  quote  one  line  entire  1 
"From  earth  King  Oineus  goodly  harvest  won, 
But,  while  he  worshipped,  ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found  his  oil-can  gone  ! 

Dionysus. 
During  the  prayers  !     Who  can  have  been  the  thief! 

Euripides  {desperately). 

Oh,  let  him  be  !     I  defy  him  answer  this — 
"  Great    Zeus    in    heaven,    the    word    of    truth    has 
flown,  ..." 

Dionysus. 

O  mercy  !     His  is  certain  to  be  gone  ! 
They  bristle  with  long  oil-cans,  hedgehog-wise, 
Your  prologues  ;  they're  as  bunged  up  as  your  eyes  ! 
For  God's  sake  change  the  subject. — Take  his  songs  ! 


92  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Euripides. 
Songs  ?     Yes,  I  have  materials  to  show 
How  bad  his  are,  and  always  all  alike. 

Chorus. 
What  in  the  world  shall  we  look  for  next  ? 
Aeschylus'*  music  !     I  feel  perplexed 

How  he  can  want  it  mended. 
I  have  always  held  that  never  a  man 
Had  written  or  sung  since  the  world  began 

Melodies  half  so  splendid  ! 
(Can  he  really  find  a  mistake 

In  the  master  of  inspiration  ? 

I  feel  some  consternation 
For  our  Bacchic  prince's  sake  !) 


Euripides. 
Wonderful  songs  they  are  !     You''ll  see  directly ; 
I'll  run  them  all  together -iftto-x)ne. 

Dionysus. 
ril  take  some  pebbles,  then,  and  count  for  you. 

Euripides  {singing), 
"  O  Phthian  Achilles,  canst  hark  to  the  battle's  man- 
slaying  shock, 

Yea,  shock,  and  not  to  succour  come  ? 
Lo,  we  of  the  Mere  give  worship  to   Hermes,   the 
fount  of  our  stock. 

Yea,  shock,  and  not  to  succour  come  1 " 

Dionysus. 
Two  shocks  to  you,  Aeschylus,  there  ! 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  93 

Euripides. 
"Thou  choice  of  Achaia,  wide-ruling  Atrides,  give 
heed  to  my  schooling  ! 

Yea,  shock,  and  not  to  succour  come." 

Dionysus. 
A  third  shock  that,  I  declare  ! 

Euripides. 
"  Ah,  peace,  and  give  ear  !     For  the  Bee-Maids  be 
near  to  ope  wide  Artemis'  portals. 
Yea,  shock-a-nock  a-succour  come  ! 
Behold  it  is  mine  to  sing  of  the  sign  of  the  way  fate- 
laden  to  mortals  ; 

Yah,  shocker-knocker  succucum  1  '* 

Dionysus. 

0  Zeus  Almighty,  what  a  chain  of  shocks  ! 

1  think  I'll  go  away  and  take  a  bath  j 

The  shocks  are  too  much  for  my  nerves  and  kidneys  ! 

Euripides. 
Not  till  you've  heard  another  little  set 
Compounded  from  his  various  cithara-songs. 

Dionysus. 
Well  then,  proceed  ;  but  don't  put  any  shocks  in  ! 

Euripides. 
"  How  the  might  twin-throned  of  Achaia  for  Hellene 
chivalry  bringeth 

Flattothrat  toflattothrat ! 
The  prince  of  the  powers  of  storm,  the  Sphinx  there- 
over he  wingeth 

Flattothrat  toflattothrat ! 


94  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

With  deedful  hand  and  lance  the  furious  fowl  of  the  air 

Flattothrat  toflattothrat  ! 
That  the  wild  wind-walking  hounds  unhindered  tear 

Flattothrat  toflattothrat  1 
And  War  toward  Aias  leaned  his  weight, 

Flattothrat  toflattothrait  1 " 

Dionysus. 
What's  Flattothrat  ?     Was  it  from  Marathon 
You  gathered  this  wool-gatherer's  stuflf,  or  where  ? 

Aeschylus. 
Clean  was  the  place  I  found  them,  clean  the  place 
I  brought  them,  loath  to  glean  with  Phrynichus 
The  same  enchanted  meadow  of  the  Muse. 
But  any  place  will  do  for  htm  to  poach, 
Drink-ditties  of  Meletus,  Carian  pipings, 
And  wakes,  and  dancing  songs. — Here,  let  me  show 

you  1 
Ho,  some  one  bring  my  lyre  !      But  no  ;  what  need 
Of  lyres  for  this  stuff?    Where's  the  wench  that  plays 
The  bones  ? — Approach,  Euripidean  Muse, 
These  songs  are  meet  for  your  accompaniment ! 

Dionysus. 
This  Muse  was  once  ...  no  Lesbian  j  not  at  all ! 

Aeschylus  [singing). 

"  Ye  halcyons  by  the  dancing  sea 

Who  babble  everlastingly. 

While  on  your  bathing  pinions  fall 

The  dewy  foam-sprays,  fresh  and  free ; 
And,  oh,  ye  spiders  deft  to  crawl 
In  many  a  chink  of  roof  and  wall, 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  95 

While  left  and  right,  before,  behind, 

Your  fingers  wi-i-i-i-ind 

The  treasures  of  the  labouring  loom. 

Fruit  of  the  shuttle's  minstrel  mind. 

Where  many  a  songful  dolphin  trips 

To  lead  the  dark-blue-beaked  ships, 
And  tosses  with  aerial  touch 
Temples  and  race-courses  and  such. 

O  bright  grape  tendril's  essence  pure, 

Wine  to  sweep  care  from  human  lips  ; 

Grant  me,  O  child,  one  arm-pressure  !  " 

[Breaking  off. 

That  foot,  you  see  ? 

Dionysus. 
I  do. 


Aeschylus. 


And  he  ? 


Euripides, 
Of  course  I  see  the  foot ! 

Aeschylus. 

And  this  is  the  stuff  to  trial  you  bring 
And  face  my  songs  with  the  kind  of  thing 
That  a  man  might  sing  When  he  dances  a  fling 
To  mad  Gyrene's  flute  ! 

There,    that's    your    choral    stuff!      But    I've    not 

finished, 
I  want  to  show  the  spirit  of  his  solos  ! 


96  ARISTOPHANES'    FROGS 

[Sings  again  ;  mysteriously. 

"  What  vision  of  dreaming, 
Thou  fire-hearted  Night, 
Death's  minion  dark-gleaming. 
Hast  thou  sent  in  thy  might  ? 
And  his  soul   was  no  soul,  and   the  Murk  was  his 
mother,  a  horror  to  sight ! 

Black  dead  was  his  robe,  and  his  eyes 

All  blood,  and  the  claws  of  him  great ; 
Ye  maidens,  strike  fire  and  arise  ; 
Take  pails  to  the  well  by  the  gate. 
Yea,  bring  me  a  cruse  of  hot  water,  to  wash  off  this 
vision  of  fate. 

Thou  Sprite  of  the  Sea, 
It  is  e'en  as  I  feared  ! 
Fellow-lodgers  of  me. 

What  dread  thing  hath  appeared  ? 
Lo,  Glyk^  hath  stolen  my  cock,  and  away  from  the 
neighbourhood  cleared  ! 

[Wildly. 

(Ye  Nymphs  of  the  Mountain  give  aid  ! 
And  what's  co»Tie  to  the  scullery-maid  ? ) 

[Tearfully. 
And  I — ah,  would  I  were  dead  ! — 

To  my  work  had  given  my  mind ; 
A  spindle  heavy  with  thread 
My  hands  did  wi-i-i-ind. 
And  I  meant  to  go  early  to  market,  a  suitable  buyer 
to  find  ! 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  97 

\_AlmQSt  weeping. 
— But  he  rose,  rose,  in  the  air 
On  quivering  blades  of  flight ; 
He  left  me  care,  care  ; 
And  tears,  tears  of  despair. 
Fell,  fell,  and  dimmed  my  sight  ! 

\Recovering  himself ;  in  florid^  tragic  style. 

Children  of  Ida's  snows, 

Cretans,  take  up  your  bows. 
And  ring  the  house  with  many  a  leaping  limb  ! 

And  thou,  fair  maid  of  bliss, 

Dictynna,  Artemis, 
Range  with  thy  bandogs  through  each  corner  dim  ; 

Yea,  Thou  of  twofold  Fires, 

Grant  me  my  deep  desires, 
Thou  Zeus-born  Hecate  ;  in  all  men's  eyes 

Let  the  detective  sheen 

Flashed  from  thy  torches  keen, 
Light  me  to  Glyke's  house,  and  that  lost  fowl  surprise  !  "  ^ 

Dionysus. 
Come,  stop  the  singing  ! 

Aeschylus. 

I've  had  quite  enough  ! 
What  I  want  is  to  bring  him  to  the  balance ; 
The  one  sure  test  of  what  our  art  is  worth  ! 

Dionysus. 

So  that's  my  business  next  ?     Come  forward,  please  ; 
I'll  weigh  out  poetry  like  so  much  cheese  ! 

G 


98  ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS 

A  large  pair  of  scales  is  brought  forward^  while  the 
Chorus  sing» 

Chorus. 
Oh,  the  workings  of  genius  are  keen  and  laborious ! 
Here's  a  new  wonder,  incredible,  glorious  ! 

Who  but  this  twain  Have  the  boldness  of  brain 
To  so  quaint  an  invention  to  run  ? 
Such  a  marvellous  thing,  if  another  had  said  it  had 
Happened  to  him,  I  should  never  have  credited  ; 
I  should  have  just  Thought  that  he  must 
Simply  be  talking  for  fun  ! 


Dionysus. 
Come,  take  your  places  by  the  balance, 

Aeschylus  and  Euripides. 

There  \ 
Dionysus. 

Now,  each  take  hold  of  it,  and  speak  your  verse, 
And  don't  let  go  until  I  say  "  Cuckoo." 

Aeschylus  and  Euripides 
[taking  their  stand  at  either  side  of  the  balance^. 

We  have  it. 

Dionysus. 

Now,  each  a  verse  into  the  scale  ! 

Euripides  [quoting  the  first  verse  of  his  '^  Medea"*^). 
"Would  God  no  Argo  e'er  had  winged  the  brine." 

Aeschylus  [quoting  his  "  Philoctetes "). 
"  Spercheios,  and  ye  haunts  of  grazing  kine  !        j 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  99 

Dionysus. 

Cuckoo  !     Let  go. — Ah,  down  comes  Aeschylus 
Far  lower. 

Euripides. 

Why,  what  can  be  the  explanation  ? 

Dionysus. 

That  river  he  put  in,  to  wet  his:^ 'wares 

The  way  wool-dealers  do,  ar>d  make  them  heavier  ! 

Besides,  you  know,  the  verse  you  gave  had  wings  ! 

Aeschylus. 
Well,  let  him  speak  another  and  we'll  see. 

Dionysus. 
Take  hold  again  then. 

Aeschylus  and  Euripides. 
There  you  are. 

Dionysus. 

Now  speak 

Euripides  [quoting  his  ^^ Antigone  "). 
"  Persuasion,  save  in  speech,  no  temple  hath." 

Aeschylus  [quoting  his  "  Niobe  "). 
"  Lo,  one  god  craves  no  offering,  even  Death." 

Dionysus. 
Let  go,  let  go  ! 

Euripides. 

Why,  his  goes  down  again  ! 


100  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Dionysus. 
He  put  in  Death,  a  monstrous  heavy  thing ! 

Euripides. 
But  my  Persuasion  made  a  lovely  line  ! 

Dionysus. 
Persuasion  has  no  bulk  and  not  much  weight. 
Do  look  about  you  for  some  ponderous  line 
To  force  the  scale  down,  something  large  and  strong. 

Euripides. 
Where  have  I  such  a  thing,  now  ?     Where  ? 

Dionysus 
[mischievously^  quoting  some  unknown  play  of  Euripides). 

ni  tell  you  ; 
"Achilles  has  two  aces  and  a  four!" — 
[Aloud)  Come,  speak  your  lines  ;  this  is  the  final  bout. 

Euripides  [quoting  his  "  Meleager  "). 
"  A  mace  of  weighted  iron  his  right  hand  sped,'* 

Aeschylus  [quoting  his  "  Glaums "). 
"  Chariot  on  chariot  lay,  dead  piled  on  dead. 

Dionysus  [as  the  scale  turns). 
He  beats  you  this  time  too  ! 

Euripides. 

How  does  he  do  it  ? 

Dionysus. 
Two  chariots  and  two  corpses  in  the  scale — 
Why,  ten  Egyptians  couldn't  lift  so  much  ! 


ARISTOPHANES*   FROGS  loi 

Aeschylus  [breaking  out). 

Come,  no  more  line-for-lfnes  !     Let  him  jump  in 
And  sit  in  the  scale  himself,  with  all  his  books, 
His  wife,  his  children,  his  Cephisophon  ! 
I'll  back  two  lines  of  mine  against  the  lot  I 

The  central  door  opens  and  Pluto  with  his  suite  comes 

forth, 

A  Voice. 
Room  for  the  King  ! 

Pluto  {to  Dionysus). 

Well,  is  the  strife  decided  ? 

Dionysus  [to  Pluto). 

I  won't  decide  1     The  men  are  both  my  friends  ; 
Why  should  I  make  an  enemy  of  either  ? 
The  one's  so  good,  and  I  so  love  the  other  ! 

Pluto. 

In  that  case  you  must  give  up  all  you  came  for  1 

Dionysus. 

And  if  I  do  decide  ? 

Pluto. 

Why,  not  to  make 
Your  trouble  fruitless,  you  may  take  away 
Whichever  you  decide  for. 

Dionysus. 

Hearty  thanks ! 
Now,  both,  approach,  and  Pll  explain. — I  came 
Down  here  to  fetch  a  poet  :   "  Why  a  poet  ? " 
That  his  advice  may  guide  the  City  true 


ro2  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

And  so  keep  up  my  worship  !     Consequently, 
ril  take  whichever  seems  the  best  adviser. 
Advise  me  first  of  Alcibiades, 
Whose  birth  gives  travail  still  to  mother  Athens, 

Pluto. 

What  is  her  disposition  towards  him  ? 

Dionysus. 

Well, 
She  loves  and  hates,  and  longs  still  to  possess. 
T  want  the  views  of  both  upon  that  question  1 

Euripides. 
Out  on  the  burgher,  who  to  serve  his  state 
Is  slow,  but  swift  to  do  her  deadly  hate, 
With  much  wit  for  himself,  and  none  for  her, 

Dionysus. 
Good,  by  Poseidon,  that  ! — And  what  say  you  ? 

[To  Aeschylus. 
Aeschylus. 

No  lion's  whelp  within  thy  precincts  raise  ; 
But,  if  it  be  there,  bend  thee  to  its  ways  ! 

Dionysus. 
By  Zeus  the  Saviour,  still  I  can't  decide  ! 
The  one  so  fine,  and  the  other/€o  convincing  ! 
Well,  I  must  ask  you  both  for  one  more  judgment ; 
What  steps  do  you  advise  to  save  our  country  ? 

Euripides, 
I  know  and  am  prepared  to  say  ! 

Dionysus. 

Say  on. 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  103 

Euripides. 
Where  Mistrust  now  has  sway,  put  Trust  to  dwell. 
And  where  Trust  is,  Mistrust  ;  and  all  is  well, 

Dionysus. 
I  don't  quite  follow.     Please  say  that  again, 
Not  quite  so  cleverly  and  rather  plainer. 

Euripides. 
If  we  count  all  the  men  whom  now  we  trust^^  f 
Suspect ;  and  call  on  those  whom  now  we  spu>n 
To  serve  us,  we  may  find  deliverance  yet.  j 

Dionysus. 
And  what  say  you  ? 

Aeschylus, 

First  tell  me  about  the  City  ; 
What  servants  does  she  choose  ?     The  good  ? 

Dionysus. 

Great  Heavens, 
She  loathes  them  ! 

Aeschylus. 

And  takes  pleasure  in  the  vile  ? 

Dionysus. 
Not  she,  but  has  perforce  to  let  them  serve  her  1 

Aeschylus. 
What  hope  of  comfort  is  there  for  a  City 
That  quarrels  with  her  silk  and  hates  her  hodden 

Dionysus. 
That's  just  what  you  must  answer,  if  you  want 
To  rise  agam  I 


104  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

Aeschylus. 
I'll  answer  there,  not  here. 

Dionysus. 
No ;  better  send  up  blessing  from  below. 

Aeschylus. 

Her  safety  is  to  count  her  enemy's  land     ~^    j^^v/^ 
Her  own,  yea,  and  her  own  her  enemy's  ;     / 
Her  ships  her  treasures,  and  her  treasure  dross)! 

Dionysus. 
Good  ; — though  it  all  goes  down  the  juror's  throat ! 

Pluto  [interrupting). 
Come,  give  your  judgment  ! 

Dionysus. 

Well,  I'll  judge  like  this  ; 
My  choice  shall  fall  on  him  my  soul  desires! 

Euripides. 

Remember  all  the  gods  by  whom  you  swore 

To  take  me  home  with  you,  and  choose  your  friend  ! 

Dionysus. 
My  tongue  hath  sworn; — but I'Uchoose Aeschylus!  "^ 

Euripides. 
What  have  you  done,  you  traitor  r 

Dionysus. 

I  ?     I've  judged 
That  Aeschylus  gets  the  prize.     Why  shouldn't  I  r 


ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS  105 

Euripides. 
Canst  meet  mine  eyes,  fresh  from  thy  deed  of 

shame  ? 

Dionysus. 

What  is  shame,  that  the  .  .  .  Theatre  deems  no 

shame  ? 

Euripides. 

Hard  heart !     You  mean  to  leave  your  old  friend  dead  ? 

Dionysus. 
Who  knoweth   if  to  live  is  but  to  die?  .  .  . 
If  breath  is  bread  and  sleep  a  woolly  lie  ? 

Pluto. 
Come  in,  then,  both. 

Dionysus. 

Again  ? 

Pluto. 

To  feast  with  me 
Before  you  sail. 

Dionysus. 

With  pleasure  !     That's  the  way 
Duly  to  crown  a  well-contented  day  ! 


Chorus. 
O  blessed  are  they  who  possess 

An  extra  share,,of_br^ins  ! 
'Tis  a  fact  that  more  or  less 
All  fortunes  of  men  express  : 
As  now,  by  showing 
An  intellect  glowing, 


io6  ARISTOPHANES'   FROGS 

This  man  his  home  regains ; 
Brings  benefit  far  and  near 
To  all  who  may  hold  him  dear, 
And  staunches  his  country's  tear, — 

All  because  of  his  brains  ! 

Then  never  with  Socrates 

Make  one  of  the  row  of  fools 
Who  gabble  away  at  ease, 
Letting  art  and  music  freeze, 
And  freely  neglect 
In  every  respect 
The  drama's  principal  rules  ! 
Oh,  to  sit  in  a  gloomy  herd 
A-scraping  of  word  on  word. 
All  idle  and  all  absurd, — 
That  is  the  fate  of  fools  ! 


Pluto. 

Then  farewell,  Aeschylus  !     Go  your  ways, 
And  save  your  town  for  happier  days 
By  counsel  wise  ;  and  a  school  prepare 
For  all  the  fools — there  are  plenty  there  I 
And  take  me  some  parcels,  I  pray  ;  this  sword 
Is  for  Cleophon  ;  these  pretty  ropes  for  the  Board 
Of  Providers.     But  ask  them  one  halter  to  spare 
For  Nicomachus  ;  one,  too,  is  Myrmex's  share. 

And,  along  with  this  venomous 

Draught  for  Archenomus, 

Take  them  my  confident  prayer, 


ARISTOPHANES'  FROGS  loy 

That  they  all  will  come  here  for  a  visit,  and  stay. 
And  bid  them  be  quick  ;  for,  should  they  delay, 
Or  meet  my  request  with  ingratitude,  say 

I  will  fetch  them  myself,  by  Apollo  ! 
And  hurry  the  gang  of  them  down  with  a  run 
All  branded  and  chained — with  Leucolophus'  son 

The  sublime  Adimantus  to  follow  1 

Aeschylus. 
I  will  do  as  you  wish. — And  as  for  my  throne, 
I  beg  you  let  Sophocles  sit  there  alone. 
On  guard,  till  perchance  I  return  some  day  ; 
For  he — all  present  may  mark  what  I  say — 

Is  my  Second  in  art  and  in  wit. 
And  see,  above  all,  that  this  Devil-may-care 
Child  ofj^ceit^ith  his  mountebank  air 
Shall  never  on  that  imperial  chair 

By  the  wildest  of  accidents  sit ! 

Pluto. 

With  holy  torches  in  high  display 

Light  ye  the  Marchers'  triumphal  advance  ; 

Let  Aeschylus'  music  on  Aeschylus'  way 
Echo  in  song  and  in  dance  ! 

Chorus. 
Peace  go  with  him  and  joy  in  his  journeying  !     Guide 

ye  our  poet 
Forth  to  the  light,  ye  Powers  that  reign  in  the  Earth 

and  below  it ; 
Send  good  thoughts  with  him,  too,  for  the  aid  of  a 

travailing  nation. 
So   shall  we  rest  at  the  last,    and    forget    our   long 

desolation, 


io8  ARISTOPHANES 

War  and  the  clashing  of  wrong. — And  for  Cleophon, 

why,  if  he'd  rather, 
Let  him  fight  all  alone  with  his  friends,  in  the  far-off 

fields  of  his  father. 

[^They  all  go  off  in  a  processtofiy  escorting  Aeschylus. 


COMMENTARY   ON  THE   FROGS 

P.  3,  1.  1,  Xanthias.] — A  common  slave's  name 
from  Xanthus,  the  chief  town  of  Lycia,  or  possibly 
from  ^av6o<^^  "auburn,"  "red-headed."  Northern 
slaves  were  common. 

P.  4,  11.  14,  16,  Phrynichus,  Ameipsias,  Lykis.] — 
Contemporary  comic  poets.  Phrynichus  was  com- 
peting with  his  "  Muses  "  against  Aristophanes  on  the 
present  occasion,  and  won  the  second  prize.  Ameipsias"* 
Connos  won  the  first  prize  over  the  Clouds^  and  his 
Revellers  over  the  Birds. 

P"  ^)  ^'  33)  Why  wasn't  I  on  board  at  Argin- 
usae  ?] — All  slaves  who  fought  in  that  battle  had  been 
set  free.  It  and  its  consequences  loom  so  large  in  The 
Frogs  that  it  is  desirable  to  give  some  account  of  them. 
It  was  a  great  victory.  Seventy  Spartan  ships  were 
destroyed  and  the  admiral,  Callicratidas,  slain.  But  it 
was  not  properly  followed  up,  and  it  was  dearly  bought 
by  the  loss  of  twenty-five  triremes,  with  nearly  the 
whole  of  their  crews,  amounting  to  about  five  thousand 
men.  It  was  believed  that  with  more  care  many  of 
these  men  might  have  been  saved,  and  most  of  the 
dead  bodies  collected  for  burial.  The  generals  were 
summoned  home  for  trial  for  this  negligence.  They 
pleaded  bad  weather,  and  also  that  they  had  given 
orders  to  the  trierarchs  (or  captains)  to  see  to  recover- 
ing the   men  overboard.      The  trierarchs  were  thus 

109 


no  ARISTOPHANES 

forced  in  self-defence  to  throw  over  the  generals,  and 
it  happened  that  they  had  among  them  the  famous 
orator  and  "  Moderate  "  politician,  Theramenes.  He, 
naturally,  led  the  case  for  his  fellow-trierarchs,  and 
succeeded  in  showing  that  the  order  to  see  to  the 
shipwrecked  men  was  sent  out  much  too  late,  after 
the  storm  had  arisen.  A  coincidence  intensified  the 
general  emotion.  The  Feast  of  the  Apaturia,  de- 
voted to  family  observances  and  the  ties  of  kindred, 
chanced  to  occur  at  the  time  of  the  trial.  Whole 
kindreds  were  seen  in  mourning.  (It  was  rumoured 
afterv^'-ards  that  impostors  were  hired  by  the  enemies 
of  the  generals  to  go  about  in  black,  wailing  for 
imaginary  relatives — like  Sebinus  below  (p.  36) — 
"  floating  unburied  on  the  waves  !  ")  The  generals 
were  condemned,  and  six  of  them,  including  Erasinides 
(p.  88),  executed.  Theramenes  "came  off  scratch- 
less"  (p.  72),  except  in  reputation. 

P.  7,  1.  48,  Cleisthenes.] — Noted  for  his  effemi- 
nate good  looks.  He  may  or  may  not  have  been  in 
command  of  a  ship. 

P-  7)  ^-  53)  The  Andromeda. 1^ — Molon  was  a  very 
tall  actor  who  performed  in  it. 

P.  9,  1.  64,  Seest  then  the  sudden  truth.] — From 
Euripides'  Hypsipyle.     Acted  411-409. 

P.  9,  1.  72,  For  most  be  dead,  &c.]t — From  Euri- 
pides' Oineus. 

P»  9>  ^*  73>  lophon.] — Son  of  Sophocles.  Fifty 
plays  are  attributed  to  him  by  Suidas,  among  others  a 
Bacchae  or  Pentheus,  from  which  we  have  the  frag- 
ment :  "This  I  understand,  woman  though  I  be  ;  that 
the  more  man  seeketh  to  know  the  Gods'  mysteries, 
the  more  shall   he  miss  knowledge."      He  won  the 


COMMENTARY  ON   THE  FROGS     iii 

second  prize  in  428,  when  the  Hippolytus  obtained 
the  first. 

P.  10,  1.  83,  Agathon.] — The  much-praised  tragic 
poet,  for  whose  first  victory  in  B.C.  41 6  the  "  Symposium  " 
of  Plato's  dialogue  professes  to  be  held.  He  left  Athens 
"  to  feast  with  peaceful  Kings^^  i.e.  with  Archelaus  of 
Macedon,  in  B.C.  407,  at  the  age  of  forty,  immediately 
after  Aristophanes'  attack  on  him  in  the  Gerytades,  and 
before  his  influence  had  established  itself  on  Athenian 
tragedy.      He  is  a  butt  in  the  Thesmophoriaxusae  also. 

P.  10,  1.  86,  Xenocles.] — Son  of  Carcinus.  No 
critic  has  a  good  word  for  him,  though  he  won  the 
first  prize  in  415  over  Euripides'  Troades.  He  is 
nicknamed  "The  Dwarf,"  "  Datis  the  Mede,"  and 
"  Pack-o'-tricks  "  (8Q)SeA:ayu,97;\;az^o?).  One  line  of  his 
seems  to  be  preserved,  from  the  Licymnius — 

"  0  bitter  fate^  O  fortune  edged  with  gold.^^ 

P.  10,  1.  87,  Pythangelus.]  —  Nothing  whatever 
is  known  of  this  man  except  the  shrug  of  Dionysus'* 
shoulders.  And  that  has  carried  his  name  to  2500 
years  of  "  immortality  "  ! 

P.  II,  1.  89,  Other  pretty  fellows.] — Among  them 
would  be  Plato.  Other  celebrated  men  of  this  time 
who  in  their  youth  tried  writing  tragedies  were 
Antiphon,  Meletus  the  accuser  of  Socrates,  Critias  the 
Oligarch,  and  Theognis  his  colleague,  Dionysius  the 
tyrant  of  Syracuse  ;  later.  Crates  the  philosopher,  and 
perhaps  the  great  Diogenes. 

P.  II,  1.  100,  O  holy  Ether.] — "I  swear  by  the 
holy  Ether,  home  of  God,"  from  Euripides'  Melanippe 
the  Wise. 

P.  II,  1.  100,  Foot  of  Time.] — The  phrase  occurs 


112  ARISTOPHANES 

very  boldly  in  Bacchae,  888  (translated  "stride"),  but 
that  play  was  not  yet  published.  Euripides  had  said, 
"  On  stepped  the  foot  of  Time,"  in  the  Alexandras^ 
acted  B.C.  415. 

P.  II,  1.  1 01,  Souls  that  won't  take  oaths,  while 
tongues,  &c.] — See  Hippolytiis^  612  (p.  33).  The  fre- 
quent misrepresentations  of  this  line  are  very  glaring, 
even  for  Aristophanes.  Cf.  FrogSy  1471,  Thesm,  275  ; 
also  Plato,  Theaet.  1 54d,  and  Sytnp.  199a,  who,  however, 
refers  to  the  phrase  sympathetically. 

P.  II,  1.  105,  Ride  not  upon  my  soul.]  —  The 
source  of  this  quotation  is  not  known. 

P.  13,  1.  124,  The  hemlock  way.] — The  ordinary 
form  of  capital  punishment  at  Athens  was  poisoning 
with  hemlock.  Socrates  in  the  Phaedo  describes  the 
gradual  chilling  of  his  body  after  drinking  it. 

P.  13,  1.  129,  Cerameicus.] — The  Potter's  Quarter 
of  Athens.  The  "  great  tower  "  is  probably  that  built 
by  Timon  the  Misanthrope  in  this  quarter.  It  would 
command  a  view,  for  instance,  of  the  torch  races  at 
the  feasts  of  Prometheus  and  Hephaestus,  and  at  the 
Panathenaea,  which  ran  "  from  the  Academy  to  the 
City  through  the  Kerameicus  "  (Pausanias,  I.  xxx,  2, 
with  Frazer's  note). 

P.  14,  1.  139,  For  two  obols.] — Two  obols  con- 
stituted the  price  of  a  day's  work  as  legally  recognised 
by  the  early  Athenian  democracy.  It  was  the  pay- 
ment made  for  attendance  at  the  Jury  Courts,  and 
distributed  to  poor  citizens  to  enable  them  to  attend 
festivals.  Hence  it  was  also  the  price  of  entry  to  the 
theatre.  It  was  probably  also  the  original  payment 
for  attendance  at  the  Ecclesia,  or  serving  in  garrison, 
or  on  ship-board,  in  cases  where    payment  was  not 


COMMENTARY  ON  THE   FROGS     113 

made  in  rations.  The  payments  were  greatly  altered 
and  increased  (owing  to  the  rise  in  prices)  during  the 
war  and  the  fourth  century. 

Charon  traditionally  took  one  obol,  the  copper  coin 
which  was  put  in  the  dead  man's  mouth.  But 
Theseus,  the  fountain-head  of  the  Athenian  con- 
stitution, has  introduced  the  Two-obol  System  in 
Hades  ! 

P.  15,  1.  151,  Morsimus.] — Son  of  Philocles  and 
grand-nephew  of  Aeschylus,  was  a  doctor  as  well  as 
a  tragic  poet.  No  one  has  a  good  word  for  his  poetry, 
and  no  fragments — except  one  conjectural  half  line — 
exist. 

P.  15,  1.  153,  Kinesias.] — A  dithyrambic  poet  of 
the  new  and  florid  school  of  music,  from  whom  Aris- 
tophanes can  never  long  keep  his  hands.  He  had 
frail  health  and  thin  legs  ;  and  you  could  not  "  tell 
right  from  left"  in  his  music.  The  parodies  of  his 
style  in  the  Birds  are  rather  charming.  Plato  de- 
nounces him  and  his  music  in  the  Gorgias  (50 1 e).  But 
it  is  interesting  to  observe  that  he  was  the  author  of 
a  law  reducing  the  extravagance  and  sumptuousness 
of  choric  performances — which  does  not  look  like 
"  corrupt "  art. 

P.  16,  1.  158,  The  Initiated.] — Persons  initiated 
in  the  Eleusinian  Mysteries,  as  in  those  of  Orpheus 
and  others,  had  their  sins  washed  away,  saw  a  great 
light  not  vouchsafed  to  other  eyes,  and  had  eternal 
bliss  after  death. 

P.  16,  1.  159,  The  donkey,  holiday-making.] — 
Much  as  a  costermonger's  donkey  with  us  celebrates 
its  master's  Bank  Holiday  by  extra  labour. 

P.  18,  11.  186  f.,  Lethe  and  Sparta  and  the  rest  of 

H 


114  ARISTOPHANES 

Hell.] — I  suspect  that  in  A')j6r)<;  nrehiov,  ovov  iroKa^j 
Tacvapov,  we  have  a  reference  to  a  proposal,  by  some 
member  of  the  war  party,  to  take  the  offensive  against 
Sparta  by  sailing  round  the  Laconian  coast — as  Tol- 
mides  had  done — and  landing  at  A6v/<:r}<i  irehlov^  ovov 
yvddo<;  (Strabo,  8,  363),  and  Taivapov. 

P.  19,  1.  191,  The  battle  of  the  Cold  Meat  Unpre- 
served.] — Arginusae,  see  above,  p.  109.  Ophthalmia 
seems  to  have  been  a  common  cause  of  disablement 
or  malingering  in  Greek  soldiers.     See  Hdt.  vii.  229. 

P.  26,  1.  282,  What  is  so  flown  with  pride] — "as 
man's  weak  heart  ?  "  So  says  Odysseus  of  himself  in 
the  opening  of  Euripides'  Philoctetes. 

P.  27,  1.  293,  Empusa.] — A  vague  phantom  ap- 
pearing in  dark  places,  whose  chief  characteristic  was 
to  be  constantly  changing,  so  that  whenever  you 
looked  it  seemed  different.  Like  other  phantoms,  she 
was  sent  by  Hecate.  Aeschines'  mother  was  so  nick- 
named (Dem.  xviii.  130)  as  being  (i)  changeable, 
always  devoted  to  some  new  religion  ;  (2)  associated 
with  uncanny  mysteries. 

P.  28,  1.  303,  Hegelochus.] — An  actor  who  per- 
formed the  hero's  part  in  Euripides'  Orestes,  B.C.  408. 
He  ought  to  have  said,  "  I  catch  a  tale  of  peace." 
He  seems  to  have  pronounced  jaX'^p  opcj,  in  Orestes, 
V.  279,  so  that  it  sounded  like  jaXijv  opco,  "I  see  a 
weasel."  We  hear  much  of  this  slip.  See  Sannyrion, 
fr.  8,  and  Strattis,  fr.  i  and  60. 

P.  29, 1.  31 1,  Parlour  of  God.] — See  on  p.  1 1, 1.  100. 

P.  30,  1.  320,  Diagoras.] — Diagoras  of  Melos,  nick- 
named "  the  atheist,"  who  was  condemned  to  death 
for  his  attack  on  the  Mysteries,  but  happily  escaped  to 
Pellene  and  the  Peloponnese. 


COMMENTARY   ON  THE   FROGS     115 

P.  31,  1.  338,  Roasting  pig.] — Pigs  were  sacrificed 
before  the  Mysteries.     Cf.  Peace^  374 — 

*^  Lend  me  three  drachmas  for  a  sucking  pig  ! 
I  must  be  purified  before  I  die." 

P.  32,  1.  353,  The  Mere.] — Aliivai,  the  district 
between  the  three  hills — Acropolis,  Areopagus,  and 
Pnyx — where  the  *  Lenaion,'  or  *  Wine-Press,'  and 
the  shrine  and  precinct  of  Dionysus  have  been  re- 
cently discovered. 

P.  32,  11.  354  fF. — The  Hierophant's  address  is  ap- 
parently a  parody  of  some  similar  warning  off  of  the 
impure  at  the  Mysteries  before  the  addresses  to  Korc 
(the  Maiden),  Demeter,  and  lacchus.  As  to  the 
allusions  :  Cratinus  is  the  celebrated  comic  poet,  pre- 
cursor and  rival  of  Aristophanes.  He  was  personally 
a  burly  and  vigorous  "  Beef-eater,"  and  the  word  is 
additionally  suitable  in  this  context  because  the  cere- 
monial eating  of  an  ox's  flesh,  being  sacramentally 
the  flesh  of  Dionysus,  the  Mystic  Bull  of  Zeus,  was 
an  essential  part  of  the  Orphic  Mysteries.  There 
were  contests  w-ith  bulls  at  the  Eleusinian  also. — 
Lobeck.  Agl.  p.  206,  note  c. 

P.  32,  1.  363. — Thorycion  is  unknown  except  for 
the  allusions  in  this  play. 

P-  33?  ^'  3^^)  -^  teacher  of  Choirs.] — He  alludes 
to  a  ribald  anecdote  about  the  poet  Kenesias  (p.  113). 

P.  33,  1.  367,  Pitiful  fines.] — Many  laws  were 
passed  restricting  the  licence  and  the  expensiveness 
of  comedy,  e.g.  by  Archinos,  Agyrrhius,  and  Arche- 
demus. 

P.  38,  1.  464,  Aeacus.] — This  character  and  his 
speech  seem  to  be  parodied  from  the  Peirithous^  a 
tragedy   attributed   either  to  Euripides  or   to   Critias 


ii6  ARISTOPHANES 

(acted  after  411),  where  the  real  Heracles  is  con- 
fronted and  threatened  by  the  real  Aeacus.  "  Gorgons" 
and  "  lampreys  "  are  suitable  in  the  infernal  regions  ; 
but  "  lampreys  of  Tartessus  "  in  Spain  were  a  well- 
known  delicacy,  and  the  "  Gorgons "  of  the  Attic 
district  Tithras  were  apparently  something  human  and 
feminine — like  the  Hostess  who  appears  presently. 

P.  40.  1.  501,  Melitean.] — The  quarter  of  Athens 
called  Melite  possessed  a  temple  of  Heracles,  and 
perhaps  a  rough  population. 

P.  40,  1.  505,  Split-pea  porridge,  &c.] — Heracles, 
nearly  always  a  comic  figure  on  the  Athenian  stage 
(perhaps,  as  Professor  Ridgeway  suggests,  because  he 
was  a  "  Pelasgian  "  hero),  has  gross  and  simple  tastes 
in  his  food.  Xanthias,  I  think,  refuses  out  of  caution, 
feeling  that  Persephone  will  detect  his  imposture,  and 
then  is  overcome  by  temptation. 

P.  42,  1.  531,  Alcmena's  son,  &c.] — A  tragic  line, 
but  of  origin  unknown. 

p.  42,  1.  541,  Theramenes.] — This  interesting  man 
owes  his  bad  name  in  The  Frogs  to  his  conduct  with 
regard  to  the  impeachment  of  the  generals  after  Ar- 
ginusae  (see  pp.  72,  no).  But  he  had  made  a  similar 
impression,  and  earned  his  nickname  of"  The  Buskin  "" 
— which  goes  equally  well  on  either  foot— in  411, 
when  he  first  was  a  leader  in  the  Oligarchic  Revolu- 
tion, and  then  turned  against  it,  and  even  spoke 
in  accusation  of  his  late  associates,  Antiphon  and 
Archeptolemus,  when  they  were  being  condemned 
to  death.  It  would  have  been  the  same  story  in  the 
second  Oligarchic  Revolution  in  404,  had  not  the 
extreme  Oligarchs  saved  themselves  by  murdering 
him.     A  "  Moderate  "  at  a  time  when   faction   was 


COMMENTARY   ON   THE  FROGS     117 

furiously  high,  he  is  continually  found  supporting 
various  movements  until  they  "  go  too  far."  Aristotle 
(Co?ist.  of  Athens^  cap.  28)  counts  him  vv^ith  Nicias  and 
Thucydides,  son  of  Melesias,  as  one  of  the  "three 
best  statesmen  in  Athenian  history,"  and  has  an  in- 
teresting defence  of  his  character.  He  was  certainly 
a  man  of  great  culture,  eloquence,  ability,  and  per- 
sonal influence.  And  his  policy  has  a  way  of  seeming 
exactly  right.  Yet  he  is  unpleasantly  stained  with 
the  blood  of  his  comipanions,  and  one  is  not  surprised 
to  find  the  tone  of  Aristophanes  towards  him  pecu- 
liarly soft  and  venomous,  unlike  his  ordinary  loud 
railing. 

P.  45,  11.  569,  570,  Cleon  .  .  .  Hyperbolas.] — It 
is  interesting  to  observe  the  duties — even  in  cari- 
cature— of  a  TTpocTTaTT;?  Tov  Sij/jbov,  or  Champion  of 
the  Demos.     He  fought  the  causes  of  the  oppressed. 

P.  46,  1.  588,  Archedemus.] — See  above,  p.  35. 

P.  47,  1.  608,  Ditylas,  Skebylas,  Pardokas.] — The 
barbarous  names  seem  to  be  Thracian  or  Scythian. 
Police  work  in  Athens  was  done  by  Scythian  slaves. 

P.  48,  1.  616,  Question  this  poor  boy.] — A  man's 
slaves  would  generally  know  about  his  movements. 
Hence  it  was  a  mark  of  conscious  innocence  for  an  ac- 
cused person  to  offer  his  slaves  to  be  examined.  They 
were  examined  under  torture,  or  threats  of  torture,  in 
order  that  they  might  fear  the  law  as  much  as  they 
feared  their  master,  and  were  guaranteed  protection 
against  his  anger  if  they  told  the  truth.  The  master 
usually  stipulated  that  no  severe  or  permanently  inju- 
rious torture  should  be  used.  Xanthias  generouslv 
offers  to  let  them  maltreat  Dionysus  as  much  as  ever 
they  like  ! 


ii8  ARISTOPHANES 

P.  48,  1.  621,  No  scourges  made  of  leeks  or  young 
shalott.] — Why  should  any  one  imagine  scourges 
made  of  such  things  ?  Because  such  things  were  used 
for  certain  ceremonial  scourgings  ;  for  instance,  Pan's 
statues  were  whipped  with  squills  (Theoc.  vii.  106), 
the  scapegoats  (^pharmakoi)  in  Ionia  with  fig-twigs  and 
squills  (Hipponax,  fr.  4-8),  the  disgraceful  boor  in 
Lucian  (^Against  the  Boor^  3  ;  cf.  Fug'it^  33,  and  Fera 
Hist.y  ii.  26)  with  mallow. 

P.  49,  1.  628,  An  illegal  act,  being  immortal.] — 
A  parody  of  the  law.  It  was  illegal  to  torture  a 
citizen. 

P.  49,  1.  634,  He  won't  feel  it.] — There  appears 
to  be  some  inconsistency  about  this  very  funny 
scene.  Dionysus  does  seem  to  feel  it  as  much  as 
Xanthias. 

P.  51,  1.  651,  Diomean  Feast.] — Held  in  honour  of 
Heracles  (whom  Xanthias  is  personating)  at  the  deme 
Diomeia  every  four  years. 

P.  52,  1.  661,  Hipponax.] — An  earlier  writer  of 
satire.  The  next  quotation  is  said  to  be  from  the 
Laocoon  of  Sophocles. 

P.  53,  1.  679,  Cleophon.] — The  well-known  belli- 
cose and  incorruptible  demagogue,  who  opposed  peace 
in  410  (after  the  victory  of  Cyzicus),  in  406  (after  the 
victory  of  Arginusae),  and  in  405  (after  the  disaster  of 
Aegospotami).  Cleophon  is  said  to  have  come  drunk 
into  the  Agora  and  vowed  that  "  he  would  cut  off  the 
head  of  any  one  who  mentioned  the  word  '  peace.' " 
He  was  shortly  afterwards  either  assassinated  or  judici- 
ally murdered  by  the  Moderates  and  Oligarchs.  The 
point  of  these  intentionally  obscure  and  nonsensical 
lines  seems  to  be  :  (i)  that  Cleophon  talked  bad  Attic, 


COMMENTARY  ON  THE   FROGS     119 

like  a  barbarian,  and  was  in  fact  of  Thracian  birth  ; 
(2)  that  he  went  about  whining — and  well  he  might ! 
— that  his  political  enemies  meant  to  twist  the  law 
somehow  so  as  to  have  him  condemned  to  death.  An 
equally  divided  vote  counted  by  rights  as  an  acquittal. 
See  also  the  last  two  lines  of  this  play. 

P.  54,  1.  688,  All  Athenians  shall  be  equal,  &c.] — 
That  is,  an  amnesty  should  be  granted  to  those  impli- 
cated in  the  Oligarchical  Revolution  led  by  Phry- 
nichus  in  411. 

P.  54,  1.  694,  Become  Plataeans.] — Wh'en  Plataea 
was  destroyed  by  Sparta  in  431,  the  refugees  were 
granted  rights  of  Athenian  citizenship  and  eventually 
given  land  (421)  in  the  territory  of  Skione  in  Chal- 
cidice.  The  slaves  who  were  enfranchised  after 
Arginusae  were  apparently  sent  to  join  the  Plataeans. 

P.  56,  11.  718-720,  Is  the  same  towards  men  and 
money.] — Mr.  George  Macdonald  has  convinced  me 
that  such  is  the  meaning  of  this  passage.  Gold' 
coins  were  struck  at  this  period  (b.c.  407  ;  Scholiast 
quoting  Hellanicus  and  Philochorus),  and  were,  to 
judge  from  those  specimens  now  extant,  of  exceptional 
purity.  Bronze  coins  also  were  struck  (Schol.  on 
v.  725)  in  the  year  406-5,  and  apparently  found 
unsatisfactory,  as  they  were  demonetised  by  the  date 
of  the  Ecclesiazusae,  B.C.  392  (Eccl.  816  fF.).  See 
Kohler  in  Zeitsch.  fur  Numismatik^  xxi.  pp.  1 1  fF. 
Others  take  the  general  sense  to  be  : — 

"  It  has  often  struck  our  notice  that  this  city  draws 
the  same 
Line  between  her   sons  true-hearted  and   the  men 
who  cause  her  shame. 


120  ARISTOPHANES 

As  between  our  ancient  silver  and  the  stuff  we  now 

call  gold. 
Those  old  coins  knew  naught  of  alloys  ;  everywhere 

their  fame. was  told. 
Not  all  Hellas  held  their  equal,  not  all  Barbary  far 

and  near, 
Every  tetradrachm    well   minted,  tested    each   and 

ringing  clear." 

This  would  be  very  satisfactory  if  there  was  any 
reason  to  suppose  either  that  (i)  there  was  an  issue  of 
base  gold  at  this  time,  or  (2)  the  new  bronze  coinage 
was  jestingly  called  ^'  the  new  gold." 

P.  56,  1.  730,  Red-haired  things.] — Northerners, 
especially  from  the  Athenian  colonies  on  the  coast 
of  Thrace.  Asiatic  aliens  are  comparatively  seldom 
mentioned  in  Attic  writers. 

P"  5^>  ^-  733j  Scapegoats.] — (jyapfiaKol,  like  "  Guy 
Fawkeses."  Traditions  and  traditional  ceremonies 
survived  in  various  parts  of  Greece,  pointing  to  the 
previous  existence  of  an  ancient  and  barbarous  rite  of 
using  human  "  scapegoats,"  made  to  bear  the  sins  of 
the  people  and  then  cast  out  or  killed.  See  the  frag- 
ments of  Hipponax,  4-8.  It  is  stated  by  late  writers 
that  in  Athens  two  criminals,  already  condemned  to 
death  and  ^  full  of  sin,'  were  kept  each  year  to  be 
used  in  this  way  at  the  Feast  of  Thargelia.  The 
sins  of  the  city  were  ritually  laid  upon  them  ;  they 
were,  in  ceremonial  pretence,  scourged  before  exe- 
cution ;  their  bodies  were  burnt  by  the  sea-shore 
and  their  ashes  scattered.  The  evidence  is  given  in 
Rohde,  Psyche,  p.  366,  4.  It  is  preposterous,  to  my 
thinking,  to  regard  this   as  a  "  human  sacrifice  " — a 


COMMENTARY  ON  THE   FROGS     121 

thing  uniformly  referred  to  with  horror  in  Greek 
literature. 

P.  58,  1.  756,  Zeus  of  the  Friendly  Jailbirds.] — 
A  deity  invented  to  meet  the  occasion  of  their  swearing 
friendship. 

P.  61,  1.  791,  Clidemides  informs  us.] — The  joke 
is  now  unintelligible.  Even  the  Alexandrian  scholars 
did  not  know  who  Clidemides  was.  He  may,  for 
instance,  have  been  some  fussy  person  who  toadied 
Sophocles  and  liked  to  give  news  about  him. 

P.  61,  11.  799  ff.,  Straight-edges  and  cubit-rules, 
&c.] — The  art  of  scientific  criticism,  as  inaugurated 
by  Gorgias,  Prodicus,  Thrasymachus,  and  afterwards 
developed  by  Isocrates  and  Aristotle,  would  seem 
absurd  to  Aristophanes ;  the  beginnings  of  physics 
and  astronomy  and  grammar  are  similarly — and  less 
excusably — satirised  in  the  Clouds. 

P.  62,  11.  814-829. — The  parody  of  Aeschylus  is 
not  so  brilliant  as  that  upon  Euripides,  whom  Aristo- 
phanes knew  to  the  tips  of  his  fingers  (pp.  94  seqq.). 
The  "Thunderer"  and  "Thoughtbuilder"  is  Aeschy- 
lus ;  the  "Man  of  the  Mouth,"  Euripides. 

P.  64,  1.  837,  Bard  of  the  noble  savage.] — Aeschy- 
lus drew  largely  from  the  more  primitive  and  wild 
strata  of  Greek  legend,  as  in  the  Prometheus  and 
Suppliants.  The  titles  and  fragments  of  the  lost 
plays  show  the  same  tendency  even  more  strongly. 

P.  64,  1.  840,  How  sayst  thou.  Son  of  the  Goddess 
of  the  Greens.] — A  parody  of  a  line  of  Euripides 
(possibly  from  the  Telephus\  where  "Sea"  stood  in 
place  of  "  Greens."  Euripides'  m.other,  Cleito,  was 
of  noble  family  {roiv  acpoSpa  evyevwv)  and  owned  land. 
For  some  unknown  reason   it  was  a  well-established 


122  ARISTOPHANES 

joke  to  caH  her  a  "  Greengroceress."  (Cf.  Ach.  457, 
478;  Knights,  18  fF.;  Thesm.  387,  456,  910,  and 
the  "  beetroot  and  book  juice,"  below,  p.  70.)  Pos- 
sibly the  poet  was  at  some  time  of  his  life  a  vegetarian. 

P.  64, 1.  842,  Blind-beggar-bard;  crutch-and-cripple 
playwright.] — Euripides  seems  to  have  used  more  or 
less  realistic  costumes.  With  him  the  shipwrecked 
Menelaus  looked  shipwrecked,  the  lame  Telephus 
lame ;  Electra,  complaining  of  the  squalor  of  her 
peasant  life,  was  dressed  like  a  peasant- woman.  It  is 
curious  how  much  anger  this  breach  in  the  tradition 
seems  to  have  created.  We  are  told  that  Aeschylus 
dressed  all  his  characters  in  gorgeous  sacerdotal  robes. 
Yet  I  wonder  if  we  moderns  would  have  felt  any 
very  great  difference  between  his  Philoctetes  or 
Telephus  (in  both  of  which  cases  the  lameness  is 
essential)  and  that  of  Euripides. 

P.  64,  1.  844,  Strike  not  thine  heart,  Sec] — A 
tragic  line,  the  source  not  known. 

P.  64,  1.  847,  A  black  lamb.] — As  sacrifced  to 
appease  Typhon,  the  infernal  storm-god. 

P.  64,  1.  849,  Cretan  dancing-solos.] — Possibly  a 
reference  to  his  Cretan  tragedies  {The  Cretans^  The 
Cretan  Women) ;  perhaps  merely  a  style  of  dancing 
accompanied  by  song. 

P.  65,  1.  855,  Knock  out  all  the  Telephus.]— (Cf. 
"That'll  knock  the  Sordello  out  of  him"),  i.e,  his 
brains,  which  consist  of  Telephus  in  masses.  No  play 
of  Euripides  is  so  often  mocked  at. 

P.  66,  1.  877,  Founts  of  Quotation.] — Literally 
"  makers  of  Gnomae  "  or  quotable  apophthegms. 

P.  68,  1.  910,  Phrynichus.] — The  tragic  poet,  pre- 
decessor of  Aeschylus,  not  the  oligarchical  conspirator. 


COMMENTARY  ON   THE   FROGS     123 

P.  68,  1.  911,  Sole  veiled  figures.] — In  fhe  extant 
plays  the  silent  Prometheus  and  the  silent  Cassandra 
are  wonderfully  impressive.  Achilles  (in  the  Phrygians) 
and  Niobe  (in  the  Niobe)  seem  to  have  been  *  dis- 
covered '  sitting  silent  at  the  opening  of  the  play. 
The  Adrastus  of  Euripides'  Suppliants  (v.  104  fF.)  is 
exactly  similar  ;  the  silences  of  Heracles  [Her.  v.  12 14) 
and  Hecuba  [Hec.  v.  485),  in  the  plays  that  bear  their 
names,  are  different. 

P.  70,  1.  931,  A  question  comes  in  night's  long 
hours.] — From  Hippo lytus^  v.  375.  A  hippalector 
(horse-cock,  a  kind  of  flying  horse  v^^ith  a  bird's  tail) 
w^as  mentioned  in  the  Myrmidons  of  Aeschylus  ; 
both  the  adjective  (translated  "  russet,"  but  perhaps 
meaning  "shrill")  and  the  noun  were  obscure, 
and  the  phrase  is  often  joked  upon  ;  e.g.  Birds., 
805,  of  the  basket-seller  Dieitrephes,  who,  from 
being  nobody 

"  Rose  on  wicker  wings  to  captain,  colonel,  cavalry 
inspector, 
Till  he  holds  the  world  in  tow  and  ranks  as  russet 
hippalector," 

— where  "  scarlet  "  or  "  screaming  "  would  suit  better. 

P.  70,  1.  934,  Eryxis.] — Unknown.  The  next 
line  is  considered  spurious  by  some  critics,  as  being 
inconsistent  with  Euripides'  general  argument. 

P.  70,  1.  937. — A  "tragelaph,"  "goat-stag,"  was  a 
name  for  the  figures  of  antelopes,  with  large  saw-like 
horns,  found  on  Oriental  tapestry. 

P.  70,  1.  941,  Treatment  for  such  distension  .  .  . 
fed  it  up  on  solos.] — This  account  is  generally  true. 
Euripides,  as  an  artist,  first  rationalised  and  clarified 


124  ARISTOPHANES 

his  medium,  and  then  re-enriched  it.  He  first  reduced 
the  choric  element  and  made  the  individual  line  much 
lighter  and  less  rich.  Then  he  developed  the  play  of 
incident,  the  lyrical  *  solo  singing,'  and  the  back- 
ground of  philosophic  meditation. 

P.  70,  1.  944,  Cephisophon.] — A  friend  of  Euri- 
pides (not  a  slave,  as  his  name  show^s),  known  chiefly 
from  a  fragment  of  Aristophanes — 

"  Most  excellent  and  black  Cephisophon, 
You  lived  in  general  with  Euripides, 
And  helped  him  in  his  poetry,  they  say." 

A  late  story,  improbable  for  chronological  reasons, 
makes  him  a  lover  of  the  poet's  wife. 

P.  71,  1.  952,  That's  no  road,  &c.] — Euripides  in 
later  life  severely  attacked  the  Democratic  party.  E.g. 
Orestes,  902-930.     See  introduction  to  The  Bacchae. 

P.  72,  1.  963,  Magic  Swans.] — It  is  not  known 
in  what  play  Aeschylus  introduced  the  swan-hero 
Cycnus.  Memnon,  the  'Aethiop  knight,'  occurred 
in  two  plays,  the  Memnon  and  the  Soul-weighing. 

P.  72,  1.  964. — The  difference  between  the  pupils 
of  Aeschylus  and  Euripides  is  interesting.  Aeschylus 
turned  out  stout,  warlike,  old-fashioned  Democrats ; 
Euripides,  "  intellectuels "  of  Moderate  or  slightly  oli- 
garchical politics. 

P.  72,  1.  965,  Phormisius.] — One  of  the  Demo- 
cratic stalwarts  who  returned  with  Thrasybulus. 
He  proposed  the  amnesty  of  403,  recalling  the  exiles. 
He  was  afterwards  ambassador  to  Persia.  He  is 
described  as  bearded,  shaggy,  and  of  truculent  aspect, 
and  died  (according  to  gossip)  in  a  drinking  bout.  A 
sort  of  Mapa6Q)vofid')(7]<i  person,  loyal  and  unsubtle. 


COMMENTARY  ON   THE  FROGS     125 

P.  72,  1.  965. — Megalnetus  is  not  elsewhere  men- 
tioned, and  the  meaning  of  the  word  fMavi)^,  "looby 
lump,"  is  obscure.  It  seems  to  be  a  slave's  name,  and 
also  the  name  of  a  bad  throw  at  dice. 

P.  72,  1.  967,  Cleitophon.] — One  of  the  coadjutors 
of  Theramenes  in  the  Oligarchical  Revolution  of 
41 1  (yfr.  Rep.  Ath.  29,  3).  He  also  gives  his  name 
to  a  fragmentary  Platonic  dialogue,  where  he  argues 
that  Socrates  is  of  inestimable  value  in  rousing  the 
conscience  of  the  quite  unconverted  man,  but  worse 
than  useless  to  the  converted  man  who  seeks  positive 
guidance.  Cleitophon  is  there  connected  with  Lysias 
and  Thrasymachus,  both  of  them  Democrats.  His 
political  attitude  would  therefore  seem  to  be  like  that 
of  Theramenes.  This  party  may  be  taken  to  repre- 
sent the  general  views  of  Euripides,  Thucydides, 
Isocrates,  and  Aristotle,  and  indeed,  apart  from  certain 
personal  prejudices  and  a  dislike  to  intellectualism,  of 
Aristophanes  himself.  In  general,  as  Mr.  Neil  says  in 
his  introduction  to  the  Knights^  "  Attic  literature  is  on 
the  side  of  the  Moderates,  in  favour  somewhat  vaguely 
of  a  restricted  franchise  and  clearly  of  a  Panhellenic 
peace"  (involving  a  more  liberal  treatment  of  the 
Allies).  The  closer  Platonic  circle  was  in  a  different 
position.  Many  of  its  members  were  compromised  by 
the  bitterer  Oligarchic  Revolution  of  404,  and  sepa- 
rated from  Moderates  as  well  as  Democrats  by  a  river 
of  blood. 

P.  72,  1.  967. — For  Theramenes,  see  above,  p.  116. 

P.  73,  1.  970,  Not  aces — no;  all  sixes.] — E.g.  it 
looked  as  if  Theramenes  was  fatally  compromised  by 
the  non-recovery  of  the  bodies  at  Arginusae  ;  instead 
of  which  he  contrived  to  make  himself  leader  of  the 


126  ARISTOPHANES 

agitation  on  that  very  subject.  (The  reading,  however, 
is  doubtful.) 

P.  73,  1.  992,  Great  Achilles,  gaze  around  thee] — - 
"  on  the  spear-tortured  labours  of  the  Achaeans,  while 
thou  within  thy  tent  .  .  ." — From  the  Myrmidons  of 
Aeschylus. 

P.  76,  1.  1026. — The  Persae  was,  as  a  matter  of 
fact,  performed  in  472,  before  the  Seven  against  Thebes 
(467);  nor  does  the  exact  exclamation  "Yow-oy," 
lavol,  occur  in  it.  But  various  odd  quasi-Persian  forms 
do  :    ot,  oa,  iwa. 

P.  77,  1.  103 1,  Those  poets  have  all  been  of  practi- 
cal use,  &c.] — This  passage,  dull  and  unintelligent  as 
it  seems  (unless  some  jest  in  it  escapes  me),  is  not 
meant  to  be  absurd.  It  implies  an  argument  of  this 
sort  :  "  All  poetry,  to  be  good,  must  do  something 
good  ; "  a  true  statement  as  it  stands.  "  Homer  and 
the  ancients  do  good  to  people."  No  one  would 
dare  to  deny  this,  and  no  doubt  it  is  true  ;  he  does 
them  good  by  helping  them  to  see  the  greatness  and 
interestingness  of  things,  by  filling  their  minds  with 
beauty,  and  so  on  ;  but  the  ordinary  man,  having  a 
narrower  idea  of  good,  imagines  that  Homer  must 
do  him  "good  "  in  one  of  the  recognised  edifying  or 
dogmatic  ways,  and  is  driven  to  concluding  that 
Homer  does  him  good  by  his  military  descriptions 
and  exhortations  ! 

Aeschylus  proceeds,  "I  am  like  Homer  because  I 
describe  battles  and  brave  deeds,  and  similar  things 
that  are  good  for  people.  Euripides  is  unlike  Homer, 
because  he  describes  all  sorts  of  other  things,  which 
are  not  in  Homer,  and  are  therefore  probably  trash  ; 
at  any  rate  some  of  them  are  improper  1  " 


COMMENTARY   ON  THE  FROGS     127 

This  is  ordinary  philistinism.  Aeschylus  struck 
Aristophanes  as  being  like  Homer,  not  because  they 
were  both  warlike,  but  chiefly  because  they  were  both 
great  well-recognised  poets  of  the  past,  whom  he  had 
accepted  in  his  childhood  without  criticism.  He 
attacks  Euripides  for  making  him  think  and  feel  in 
some  new  or  disturbing  way,  or  perhaps  at  a  time 
of  life  when  he  does  not  expect  really  to  think  and 
feel  at  all.  Probably  the  contemporaries  of  Aeschylus 
attacked  him  in  just  the  same  way.  He  made  people 
think  of  the  horrors  of  victory  and  of  vengeance  ; 
he  made  a  most  profound  and  un-Homeric  study  of 
the  guilty  Clytaemnestra.  But  Aristophanes,  when 
in  his  present  mood,  resembles  that  modern  critic 
who  is  said  to  have  praised  Shakespeare  for  writ- 
ing "  bright,  healthy  plays  with  no  psychology  in 
them." 

P.  77,  1.  1036,  Pantacles.] — A  lyric  poet,  one  of 
whose  victories  is  recorded  on  an  extant  inscribed 
pillar  (Dittenberger,  410).  The  "procession"  was 
doubtless  at  the  Panathenaea  six  months  before. 

P.  77,  1.  1039,  Lamachus.] — The  general  who  died 
so  heroically  in  the  Sicilian  expedition.  He  is  attacked 
in  the  Acharnians  as  representative  of  the  war  party, 
partly  perhaps  because  of  his  name  ("  Love-battle  "  or 
"  Host-fighter  ").  He  is  treated  respectfully  in  Thesm. 
841. 

P.  77,  1.  1043,  Stheneboia.] — Phaedra,  heroine  of 
the  Hippolytus, 

P.  77,  1.  1044,  A  woman  in  love  in  one  act  of  one 
play.] — An  exaggeration.  Clytaemnestra  is  in  love 
with  Aegisthus,  as  any  subtle  reading  of  the  Agamem- 
non shows  ;   but  other  passions  are  more  prominent, 


128  ARISTOPHANES 

and  love  in  Aeschylus  is  on  the  v/hole  treated  with 
reserve  and  stiffness.  There  was,  however,  a  famous 
speech  of  Aphrodite  in  the  Danaides^  explaining  her- 
self as  a  world-force.  And  Euripides  would  probably 
have  shrunk  from  writing  such  lines  as  MyrmidonSy 
fr.  135,  136,  and  from  representing  Semele's  pregnancy 
as  Aeschylus  seems  to  have  done  in  the  play  called 
by  her  name  (see  Nauck),  a  great  deal  more  than 
Aeschylus  would  have  shrunk  from  the  delicate  psy- 
chology of  Euripides'  Phaedra.  In  the  dramatic 
treatment  of  female  character  Aeschylus  was  really 
the  pioneer  who  opened  the  road  for  Euripides. 
The  Clytaemnestra  of  the  Agamemnon  probably  differs 
from  the  women  of  earlier  poets  in  just  the  same 
way  as  Phaedra  differs  from  her,  and  to  a  far  greater 
degree. 

P.  78,  1.  1046,  Once  .  .  .  left  you  flat  on  the 
ground.] — The  allusion  is  entirely  obscure. 

P.  78,  1.  105 1,  To  gratify  Bellerophontes.] — That 
hero,  in  a  fury,  had  wished  that  all  women  might 
poison  themselves. 

P.  79,  1.  1058,  The  language  of  men.] — Euripides, 
as  represented,  agrees  with  Wordsworth.  The  general 
voice  of  poetry  is  clearly  against  both. 

P.  80,  1.  1074,  And  spit  on  the  heads,  &c.] — One 
of  the  passages  which  show  that  Aristophanes  could 
see  the  other  side  when  he  chose.  Your  stout,  igno- 
rant pre-sophistic  farmer  or  sailor  was  a  bit  of  a  brute 
after  all ! 

P.  80,  1.  1080,  Goes  into  shrines.] — Augc. 

P.  80,  1.  1 08 1,  Her  own  brother's  wife.] — Canac^ 
in  the  Aeolus, 


COMMENTARY   ON   THE  FROGS     129 

P.  80,  1.  1082,  Life  is  not  Life.] — See  the  Polyidus. 
The  same  sentiment  occurs  in  the  Phrixus. 

P.  82,  1.  1 1 09,  If  you  fear  from  former  cases,  &c.] 
— The  meaning  mav  also  be  that  they  have  a  book 
in  their  hands  at  the  time,  viz.  a  copv  of  the  play. 
So  Van  Leeuwen  :  "  These  verses  were  added  in  the 
second  performance  of  The  Frogs.  At  the  first  per- 
formance .  .  .  this  part  of  the  play  had  been  over  the 
heads  of  some,  perhaps  many,  of  the  audience.  But 
now,  says  the  Chorus,  this  objection  is  removed  ;  copies 
of  the  play  are  in  every  citizen's  hand." 

P.  82,  1.  1 124,  Oresteia.] — The  prologue  quoted 
is  that  of  the  Choephori ;  Oresteia  ("  The  Orestes- 
poetry  "),  seems  to  have  been  another  name  for  that 
play.  We  apply  the  word  to  the  whole  trilogy — 
Agamemnon^  Choephori^  Eumentdes.  The  growth  of 
formal  titles  for  books  was  a  very  slow  thing.  Pro- 
bably Aeschylus  scarcely  "  named "  his  plays  much 
more  definitely  than  Herodotus  and  Thucydides 
"named"  their  histories.  Even  Euripides'  plays 
sometimes  bear  in  the  MSS.  varying  names  :  Bacchae 
or  Pentheus^  Htppolytus  or  Phaedra.  By  the  time  of 
Plato  regular  names  for  plays  must  have  been  estab- 
lished, as  he  named  his  dialogues  in  evident  analogy 
from  plays. 

P.  83,  1.  1 126,  Warding  a  father's  way.] — A 
phrase  really  obscure.  Commentators  differ  about  the 
interpretation. 

P.  84,  1.  1 1 50,  Dionysus,  dull  of  fragrance,  &c.] — 
Apparently  a  tragic  line. 

P.  87,  1.  1 1 82,  At  first  was  Oedipus,  &c.] — Pro- 
logue to  Euripides'  Antigone, 

I 


130  ARISTOPHANES 

P.  88,  1.  1 196,  Erasinides.] — One  of  the  com- 
manders at  Arginusae.  There  was  one  piece  of  bad 
luck  that  Oedipus  missed. 

P.  88,  1.  1200,  One  umbrella.] — Literally  "one 
oil  cruse."  An  ancient  Athenian  carried  a  cruse  of 
olive  oil  about  with  him,  both  to  anoint  himself  with 
after  washing  and  to  eat  like  butter  with  his  food. 
Naturally  he  was  apt  to  lose  it,  especially  when 
travelling.  I  can  find  no  object  which  both  ancient 
Greeks  and  modern  Englishmen  would  habitually  use 
and  lose  except  an  umbrella. 

The  point  of  this  famous  bit  of  fooling  is,  I  think, 
first,  that  Euripides'  tragic  style  is  so  little  elevated 
that  umbrellas  and  clothes-bags  are  quite  at  home  in 
it ;  secondly,  that  there  is  a  certain  monotony  of 
grammatical  structure  in  Euripides'*  prologues,  so  that 
you  can  constantly  finish  a  sentence  by  a  half-line 
with  a  verb  in  it. 

The  first  point,  though  burlesquely  exaggerated,  is 
true  and  important.  Euripides'  style,  indeed,  is  not 
prosaic.  It  is  strange  that  competent  students  of 
Greek  tragic  diction  should  ever  have  thought  it  so. 
But  it  is  very  wide  in  its  range,  and  uses  very  collo- 
quial words  by  the  side  of  very  romantic  or  archaic 
ones — a  dangerous  and  difficult  process,  which  only  a 
great  master  of  language  can  successfully  carry  through. 
Cf.  the  criticism  on  the  *  light  weight '  of  his  lines, 
below,  pp.  97  ff. 

As  to  the  second  point,  it  is  amusing  to  make  out 
the  statistics.  Of  the  extant  Greek  tragedies,  the 
following  can  have  \7]kv9i,ov  airotiKecre  stuck  on  to 
one  of  the  first  ten  lines  of  the  prologue  :  Aesch.  Prom, 
8,    Sept.    6,    Eu?n,   3   (a    good    one,   rj   St]   to    fit]Tpo<; 


COMMENTARY  ON  THE  FROGS     131 

krjKvdLou  a7TaiK.eaev\  and  several  other  lines ;  Soph. 
O.  T.  4,  EI.  5,  Track.  3  and  6,  Antig.  2  and  7 
(ap  ola6^  on  Zevq  \.  a.)  ;  Euripides,  Tro.  10,  Hec,  2, 
Phoen.  7,  Hclid^  1  and  4,  //^r.  9,  //f/.  4,  jE/.  10,  /.  A. 
54  (  =  6),  and  /.  T.  2,  quoted  here.  Thus  all  three 
tragedians  have  such  passages  in  the  opening  of  about 
half  their  extant  plays,  and  the  "  monotony,"  if  such 
it  be,  belongs  rather  to  the  style  of  the  tragic  prologue 
than  to  Euripides. 

A  third  allusion  seems  to  have  been  felt  by  the 
ancient  writers  on  rhetoric.  Ai]kvQo<^  and  \7]kv6lov 
(Synesius,  p.  55),  in  the  sense  of"  paint-flask"  (Latin 
ampulla)^  w^ere  cant  terms  for  "  ornament  in  diction." 
Euripides'  tragic  heroes,  with  their  plain  style  of 
speech,  seem  to  have  lost  their  paints.  I  do  not  think 
Aristophanes  meant  this. 

P.  88,  1.  1206,  Aegyptus,  &c.] — The  first  words, 
it  is  said,  of  the  Jrchelaus,  though  Aristarchus,  the 
famous  Alexandrian  scholar,  says  that  the  Archelaus 
as  published  in  his  time  had  a  different  prologue 
without  these  words.  Apparently  there  were  two 
alternative  prologues  ;  cf.  the  Iphigenia  in  Aulis. 

P.  89,  1.  121 1,  Dionysus,  &:c.] — Opening  of  the 
Hypsipyle.     It  went  on  :  "  amid  the  Delphian  maids." 

P.  89,  1.  121 7,  No  man  hath  bliss,  &c.] — Opening 
of  the  Stheneboea.  It  went  on  :  "  Rich  acres  holds  to 
plough." 

P.  90,  1.  1225,  Cadmus  long  since] — "his  way  to 
Thebe  won."      Opening  of  the  Phrixus. 

P.  90,  1.  1232,  Pelops  the  Great] — "a  royal  bride 
had  won."  Opening  of  the  Iphigenia  in  Tauris,  still 
extant. 

P.    91,   1.    1238,   Oineus   from    earth.] — From   the 


132  ARISTOPHANES 

Meleager^  but  not  (according  to  the  Scholiast)  the  first 
words.  It  went  on  :  "  Left  one  due  deed  undone, 
Praising  not  Artemis." 

P.  91,  1.  1244,  Great  Zeus  in  heaven,  &c. — Open- 
ing of  Melan'ippe  the  Wise,  It  went  on  :  "  Was  sire 
to  Hellen,"  and  therefore  did  not  really  admit  the 
\r]Kv6Lov  tag. 

P.  91,  1.  1247,  ^^  bunged  up  as  your  eyes.] — There 
are  various  allusions  to  Euripides'  bodily  infirmities  in 
his  extreme  old  age. 

Pp.  92  fF.,  11.  1264  ff. — Aristophanes  parodying 
Aeschylus  is  not  nearly  as  brilliant  and  funny  as  when 
parodying  Euripides.  The  lines  here  are  all  actual 
lines  of  Aeschylus  :  a  refrain  is  made  of  a  line  which 
is  good  sense  when  first  used,  but  easily  relapses  into 
gibberish.  The  plays  quoted  are,  in  order,  the 
MyrmidonSy  Raisers  of  the  Dead^  Telephus  (l)^  PriestesseSy 
Agamemnon  (v.  104)  ;  then,  for  the  cithara  songs, 
Agamemnon  (v.  109),  Sphinx^  Agamemnon  (v.  ill), 
Sphinx  (?),  Thracian  Women, 

P.  94,  1.  1294,  War  towards  Aias.] — Obscure  and 
perhaps  corrupt. 

P.  94,  1.  1296,  Was  it  from  Marathon,  &c.] — "  Did 
you  find  that  sort  of  stuff  growing  in  the  marsh  of 
Marathon  when  you  fought  there  ? "  Aeschylus 
answers  :  "  Never  you  mind  where  I  got  it.  It 
was  from  a  decent  place  !  "  The  metre  of  the  song, 
and  presumably  the  music,  is  Stesichorean. 

P.  94,  1.  1308,  No  Lesbian.] — I.e.  she  is  very  unlike 
the  simple  old  Lesbian  music  of  Sappho  and  Alcaeus ; 
but  there  is  a  further  allusion  to  the  supposed  impro- 
prieties of  Lesbian  women. 

P.  94,  1.    1309,  Ye  halcyons,  &c.] — This  brilliant 


COMMENTARY  ON  THE   FROGS     133 

parody  contains  a  few  actual  Euripidean  phrases  ;  cf. 
/.  T.  1089— 

"O  bird,  that  wheehng  o'er  the  main 
By  crested  rock  and  crested  sea 
Cryest  for  ever  piteously, 
O  Halcyon,  I  can  read  thy  pain,"  &c. 

and  El.  435  seqq.^  "  Where  the  tuneful  dolphin  winds 
his  way  before  the  dark-blue-beaked  ships."  "The 
shuttle's  minstrel  mind  "  is  said  by  the  Scholiast  to  be 
from  the  Meleager. 

P.  95,  1.  13 14,  Wi-i-i-ind.] — A  musical  "shake." 
This  particular  word  elXlaaco  is  scanned  el-etXicraco 
(and  actually  so  written  in  one  MS.)  in  E/.  437,  the 
passage  cited  above ;  and  a  papyrus  fragment  of  the 
Orestes  has  co?  written  rhco^  with  two  musical  notes 
above  it.  Of  course  the  thing  is  common  in  lyric 
poetry,  both  Greek  and  English,  but  decidedly  rarer 
in  Aeschylus  than  in  Euripides. 

P.  95,  1.  1323,  That  foot.] — The  metrical  foot, 
irepi^aW^  an  anapaest  rather  irregularly  used  :  I 
imitate  the  effect  in  "arm-pressure." 

P.  95,  L  1328,  Cyrene.] — Not  much  is  known  of 
her,  and  that  not  creditable. 

P.  96,  1.  1 33 1,  Thou  fire-hearted  Night,  &c.] — 
Cf.  the  solo  of  Hecuba  [Hec.  68  seqq.).  The 
oxymoron  ("  his  soul  no  soul ")  and  the  repetitions 
are  very  characteristic  of  Euripides,  though  common 
enough  in  Aeschylus  (e.g,  Aesch.  Suppliants^  836  ff., 
where  there  are  seven  such  repetitions).  It  is  not 
Euripides,  but  Greek  tragedy  in  general,  that  is  hit  by 
this  criticism. 

P.  97,  1.  1356,  Cretans  take  up  your  bows,  &c.] — 


134  ARISTOPHANES 

From  Euripides'  Cretans^  according  to  the  Scholiast,, 
but  he  does  not  specify  the  lines. 

P.  97,  1.  1365,  Bring  him  to  the  balance  :  the  one 
sure  test.] — This  is  indeed  the  one  test — and  a  fairly 
important  one — in  which  Euripides  must  be  utterly 
beaten  by  Aeschylus.  Every  test  hitherto  has  been 
inconclusive. 

P.  10 1,  after  1.  1410,  Room  for  the  King,  &c.J — I 
have  inserted  this  line.  There  seems  to  be  a  gap  of 
several  lines  in  our  MSS. 

P.  1 01, 1.  1 41 3,  The  one's  so  good,]  =  viz.  Euripides,, 
and  "  I  so  love  "  Aeschylus. — Euripides  was  <Tocj)6<;y 
being  master  of  the  learning,  including  conscious  poeti- 
cal theory,  which  had  not  fully  entered  into  the  ideals 
of  the  educated  Athenian  in  Aeschylus'  time. 

P.  102,  1.  1422,  Alcibiades.] — He  was  now  in  his 
second  exile.  Appointed  one  of  the  three  generals 
of  the  Sicilian  expedition  in  415,  he  was  called  back 
from  his  command  to  be  tried  for  "  impiety  "  (in  con- 
nection with  the  mutilation  of  the  Hermae).  He  fled 
and  was  banished  ;  then  he  acted  with  Sparta  against 
Athens  in  order  to  procure  his  recall.  Upon  the  out- 
break of  the  Oligarchic  Revolution  of  411,  the  fleet^ 
which  remained  democratic,  recalled  Alcibiades.  He 
commanded  with  success  for  three  years,  returned  to 
Athens  in  triumph  in  408,  and  was  formally  appointed 
Commander-in-Chief.  The  defeat  at  Notium  in  406, 
for  which  his  carelessness  was  considered  responsible, 
caused  him  to  be  superseded,  and  he  retired  to  the 
castles  which  were  his  private  possessions  in  the 
Chersonese,  maintaining  an  ambiguous  political  atti- 
tude, but  on  the  whole  friendly  to  Athens.  He  was 
mysteriously    assassinated    in    404.       The    divergent 


COMMENTARY  ON  THE  FROGS     135 

advice  of  the  two  poets  is  clear  and  probably  charac- 
teristic. Euripides  says,  "  Have  no  dealings  with  such 
a  shifty  and  traitorous  person;"  Aeschylus  says, 
<'T\/rake  all  the  use  you  can,  even  with  some  risk, 
of  every  good  fighter."  And  this  would,  no  doubt, 
be   Aristophanes'    view,  to  judge  from  the  Parabasis 

of  this  play  (pp.  54-56)-  o     t     c  -j 

P  102,  1.  1425,  She  loves  and  hates,  &c.]— baid  to 
be  parodied  from  a  line  in   The  Sentinels  {4>povpo{)  by 

Ion  of  Chios.  <,     -,     t  j 

P.  102,  1.  1434,  The  one  so  wise,  &c.]— I  do  not 
think  that  any  real  distinction  is  drawn  between  ao^m, 
"wisely,"  and  aa(f>m,  "truly"  or  "convincingly." 

P.  103,  1.  1443,  Where  Mistrust  is,  &c.]— The  re- 
spective lines  of  advice  are  the  same  as  before.  Euri- 
pides says,  "Purge  your  governing  bodies  and  keep 
the  morale  of  the  state  sound";  Aeschylus  says, 
"Fight    your     hardest    and    think    of    nothing    but 

fighting."  _     - 

P.  104,  1.   1468,  My  choice  shall  fall,  &c.]— Seems 

to  be  a  tragic  line. 

P.  104,1.1471,  My  tongue  hath  sworn.]— Htppolytus, 

V.  612  (see  above,  p.  112).  .     -^     t? 

P.  105,  1.  1474,  Canst  meet  mine  eyes,  &c.J— l^rom 

Euripides'  Jeolus. 

P.  105,  1.   1477,  Who  knoweth  if  to  live,  &c.J— 
From  the  Polytdus  (cf.  above,  p.  80). 

P   106  1    1482,  Then  never  with  Socrates,  &C.J— A 

„.os;  interesting  attack  on  the  Socratic  circle  for  lack 
of  brains-of  all  charges  !  Plato,  Cntias,  and  other 
pretty  fellows"  (see  p.  m)  wrote  tragedies,  and  no 
doubt  seemed  to  old  stagers  like  Aristophanes  to  brea.c 
"  the  drama's  principal  rules." 


136  ARISTOPHANES 

P.  1 06, 11. 1504  ff.,  This  sword  is  for  Cleophon.] — Viz. 
to  kill  himself  with  (see  on  Cleophon  above,  p.  118). 
The  "  Board  of  Providers  "  was  specially  appointed  to 
raise  revenue  by  extraordinary  means  after  the  Sicilian 
disasters.  Myrmex  and  Archenomus  are  otherwise 
unknown.  Nicomachus  was  a  legal  official  against 
whom  Lysias  wrote  his  speech,  No.  XXX.  Adei- 
mantus  is  a  better  known  figure.  A  disciple  of  Prota- 
goras, he  was  a  general  in  407  and  in  actual  command 
at  the  defeat  of  Notium.  He  was  appointed  general 
again  after  the  condemnation  of  those  concerned  in 
the  battle  of  Arginusae  ;  continued  in  his  command 
next  year,  and  was  responsible,  through  incompetence 
or  deliberate  treachery,  for  the  annihilation  of  the 
Athenian  fleet  by  Lysander  at  Aegospotami  (404). 

P.  107,  1.  1528,  Peace  go  with  him,  &c.] — The 
dactylic  hexameter  metre  is  rather  characteristic  of 
Aeschylus,  and  so  is  the  solemnity  of  these  last  lines — 
so  charmingly  broken  by  the  jest  at  the  very  end. 

P.  108, 1.  1533,  Fields  of  his  father.] — The  leader  of 
the  extreme  '  patriotic '  party  was  supposed  to  be  a 
foreigner — of  Thracian  descent. 


Printed  Isy  Ballantvne,  Hanson  &*  Co. 
Edinburgh  <^  London 


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